Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) 

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is a legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency.

 

The bill was first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, by United States Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and has since been reintroduced several times but has failed to pass. The term ‘DREAMers’ refers to the youth who would be impacted by this legislation.

Their average age is 24. None of them collect welfare benefits such as cash assistance, food stamps or Medicaid. More than half were brought to the U.S. when they were 6 years old or younger. More than 90% of them have jobs and they have contributed billions of dollars in taxes to Social Security and Medicaid, though they are not currently entitled to benefits from either program. Their desire to become permanent legal residents is supported by the vast majority of Americans — Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.

 

On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced an executive order that created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is an immigration policy that allows some individuals who were brought to the United States as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit. Unlike the DREAM Act, DACA does not provide a path to citizenship for recipients, it basically defers any potential action against undocumented Dreamers.

Who Qualifies for DACA?

  • Under age 31 as of June 15, 2012

  • Entered U.S. prior to age 16

  • At least 15 years old at the time of request

  • Resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007

  • Have not committed a felony or significant misdemeanor

  • Currently enrolled in high school, have graduated high school, earned a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces

 

“Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stated. “Deferred action does not provide lawful status.”

What protection does DACA give to an undocumented person?

  • Renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation

  • Eligibility for a work permit

  • A Social Security Card

  • A driver’s license

Attack on DACA

 

In November 2014, President Obama announced his intention to expand DACA to cover additional undocumented immigrants. Multiple states immediately sued to prevent the expansion which was ultimately blocked by an evenly divided Supreme Court. President Trump rescinded any expansion on June 16, 2017, while continuing to review the existence of the DACA program as a whole. Plans to phase out DACA were announced by the Trump Administration on September 5, 2017; implementation was put on hold for six months to allow Congress time to pass the Dream Act or some other legislative protection for Dreamers. Congress failed to act, and the time extension expired on March 5, 2018, but the phase-out of DACA has been put on hold by several courts.

 

  • 2018 January — Department of Justice asks Supreme Court to fast-track a decision on the DACA program before the lower courts get to make any decisions, but the request was denied

  • 2018 November — Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide injunction barring the trump administration from removing DACA

  • 2018 November — Department of Justice once again asks Supreme Court to fast-track a decision on the DACA program. Their decision is still pending.

  • 2019 January — since the Ninth Circuit heard the case in November 2018, there is some conjecture that the Supreme Court could hear the debate as soon as June 2019*.

 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/8/18076324/daca-supreme-court-trump-when-lawsuit

DACA Stats

  • 11.3 million — the total number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.[1]

  • 3.6 million — the number of undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before their 18th birthday, known as Dreamers

  • 1.8 million — the number of undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before their 16th birthday. This is the group that met the basic requirements to apply for DACA

  • 800,000 — the number of Dreamers who have received DACA protections over the last five years

  • 690,000 — the number of Dreamers currently enrolled in DACA (Feb 2018)

  • 25 — the average age of Dreamers

  • 6 — average age of Dreamers when they first entered the U.S.

  • 97% — the number of DACA recipients who are working or enrolled in school

  • 900 — DACA recipients who are serving in the military

 

[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/13/who-daca-dreamers-and-how-many-here/333045002