The “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program allows individuals who came to the United States as children and meet certain eligibility criteria to obtain “deferred action” for a period of two years, which can be subsequently renewed. “Deferred action” is a form of prosecutorial discretion by which the Government postpones the act of removing (deporting) someone for a determined period of time. Although the program was announced on June 15, 2012, it is still possible to apply for an initial DACA for those who have not applied yet. Also, those individuals who have already obtained deferred action immediately after the program was announced in 2012 can request a renewal of their DACA application.
To qualify for DACA, a person must show that he or she: has no lawful status; was under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 and arrived in the US before reaching the age of 16; has resided continuously in the US since June 15, 2007 and was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012; graduated from high school, is currently enrolled in school, or obtained a GED; has not committed certain crimes. Successful DACA applicants do not obtain lawful status in the United States; however, they stop accumulating unlawful presence and are eligible to apply for work authorization.