On June 15 2012 President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security announced a new process for undocumented people who arrived to the United States as children to access limited benefits, including a work permit and a driver’s license. The policy, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also provides relief from deportation for qualified individuals as an “act of prosecutorial discretion.” Please note that it would have to be renewed every two years, and that you are still undocumented, as according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this “does not grant legal status.”

Who Qualifies for DACA?

  1. Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection (undocumented) before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status (visa) expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

For a complete break-down of the categories, visit the USCIS page for DACA applicants.

Important Resources

If you are considering applying for deferred action, we encourage you to take a look at these resources, which will provide you with more information and support in the process:

The work does not end

  • We continue to share information with our communities about DACA, immigrant rights, and fighting deportations. To request a speaker from IYJL to help you, your school, or your community get informed, please contact us here.
  • We will continue to work against deportations and for the rights of undocumented immigrants, including those who do not qualify for DACA. for more information on IYJL’s thoughts on what comes after DACA, check out this blog.
  • We invite you to organize. Whether you are undocumented, “DACAmented” (creating new terms here), or an ally, we invite you to get in touch to be part of creating the changes in local and federal policy that we need to improve the lives of our communities. Undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic.