What is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, is an immigration policy put in place by the Obama administration in 2012. The program is considered a stopgap measure to prevent undocumented children and youth brought to the United States by their parents from being deported.
DACA allows certain immigrants to apply to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. The permits can be renewed every two years. Participants pay a fee of $495 at the time of application, and at every renewal. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the requirements to apply are:
- Must have been younger than 31 years old on June 15, 2012
- Must have come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday
- Must have continuously resided in the U.S. from June 15, 2007, through the present
- Must have been in the U.S. both on June 15, 2012, and at the time of their request
- Must have had no lawful status on June 15, 2012
- Must currently be in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or be an honorably discharged military veteran
- Must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety
On Tuesday, September 5 the Trump administration announced that DACA will end in six months if Congress does not pass new legislation. Acting Secretary Elaine C. Duke released an official memorandum on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
What does this mean?
Because of the executive order, DACA will be phased out, with an official end in six months. As reported by David Nakamura for NPR, “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will process all new applications received as of Sept. 5 and then stop accepting applications. DREAMers whose work permits expire before March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal, but they must meet an upcoming Oct. 5 deadline.”
What can you do?
With DACA ending, it’s time for Congress to pass a clean version of the bipartisan Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Call your members of Congress and encourage them to support the Dream Act. You can find contact information for your Representative here and your Senators here.
You can find up-to-date information about the DACA program and assistance for young adults — with specific information for those in Michigan affected by this decision — from the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.