What Is the DACA Immigration Policy?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an immigration policy that allowed individuals who immigrated to the U.S. as children to receive deferred action on their immigration status for two years at a time. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced its intention to cancel DACA, threatening the livelihoods of 800,000 individuals in the program. It’s been a long battle, but in June 2020, the Supreme Court blocked Trump from ending DACA. However, this isn’t the first or last DACA fight. Here’s the history of the DACA program, including how it was passed, its challenges, the Dreamers and the program’s benefits.
How the Policy Was Passed
Established in June 2012, DACA was introduced by the Obama administration as a way to prevent the deportation of young immigrants in the U.S. who lack citizenship or legal status. The program protects recipients for two years and allows them to stay in the country to work and attend school.
Years of Challenges
Not everyone is in favor of DACA. Critics raised several issues with the policy. Some claimed that DACA was an insufficient short term solution to the larger issue of immigration in the U.S. 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 U.S.
Who Exactly Are the Recipients?
DACA recipients are currently in their mid-20s and late-30s. Many of the recipients come from Mexico and Central or South America, such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Thousands also arrived from the Caribbean and Asia, generally South Korea and the Philippines.
Who Is Eligible for the Program?
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.
Participants in the program have experienced both greater employment opportunities and decreased fears of deportation from the U.S., according to the American Psychological Association (APA). The program also allowed younger participants to take part in age-specific milestones along with their peers, such as obtaining a driver's license and a work permit.