The DACA program, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program initially implemented by President Obama in 2012. DACA is often referred to as the program for the “DREAMers.” The program is technically a deferred prosecution program in which the government chooses which foreign nationals it wishes to target in immigration enforcement operations and which foreign nationals it does not consider a priority for removal. DACA recipients voluntarily disclose their undocumented status to the government in exchange for “deferred action,” which is essentially a commitment by ICE not to begin deportation proceedings against them. To qualify for DACA’s current requirements, an applicant has to have been present in the United States on two specific dates, must be younger than a specific age, must have no disqualifying criminal history, must not possess a lawful U.S. immigration status, and must have arrived in the United States as a child.
DACA is a great option for individuals who did not choose to come to the United States without status, but who are now here and hoping to put down roots and build their lives. Many DACA recipients are able to work, get college degrees, start businesses, and purchase homes. Although DACA is not currently a permanent benefit, Congress and President Biden have been discussing at length different strategies to offer a more permanent option to current DACA recipients.