What Is the DACA Immigration Policy?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an immigration policy that allowed individuals who immigrated to the United States as children to receive deferred action on their immigration status for two years. It was established in June 2012 by the Obama administration. In September 2017 the Trump administration announced its intention to rescind DACA. Approximately 800,000 individuals were enrolled in the program.

Following the implementation of DACA, participants in the program experienced both greater employment opportunities and decreased fears of deportation from the United States, as reported by the American Psychological Association. The program also enabled younger participants to take part in age-specific milestones along with their peers, such as obtaining a driver's license and a work permit, according to the APA.

Critics of DACA raised several issues with the policy. Some claimed that DACA was an insufficient short term solution to the larger issue of immigration in the United States, as reported by the University of Iowa. While DACA provided a temporary reprieve from deportation, it did not give those enrolled a path to citizenship. Additionally, some critics asserted that the policy would encourage more minors to seek illegal entry into the United States, as stated by Georgetown Law.

In order for individuals to be eligible to participate in the program, they must have been younger than 31 years old as of June 15, 2012, the date the policy was announced by the Director of Homeland Security. Additional age requirements specified that DACA applicants must be at least 15 years old at the time of their request.

DACA policy required applicants to have continuously lived in the United States at least from June 15, 2007, until the date of their application. Applicants were also required to have been physically present in the country on both June 15, 2012 and the date that they made their request for deferred action. Applicants were required to have been currently enrolled in high school, have graduated from high school, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or other Armed Forces. A record free of both felony convictions and significant misdemeanors was also required for admittance to the program.