Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy established by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.
The Trump administration announced on Tuesday the “wind down” of an Obama-era program that, in part, allows for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants to remain in the country. The administration officially announced its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – which provides a level of amnesty to certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children – with a six-month delay for current recipients. With the delay, the solution for protecting young immigrants from deportation is punted to Congress, with only a few months to pass immigration reform legislation. President Trump urged lawmakers on Tuesday to “do your job” with DACA.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said Tuesday that while DACA will be phased out for current recipients, “no new initial requests or associated applications filed after today will be acted on.”
Read on for a look at how the DACA program works and why the administration disbanded it.
What is the DACA program?
The DACA program was formed through executive order by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and allows certain people, called Dreamers, who come to the U.S. illegally as minors to be protected from immediate deportation. Recipients are able to request “consideration of deferred action” for a period of two years which is subject to renewal.
“Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states. “Deferred action does not provide lawful status.”
Individuals are able to request DACA status if they were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, came to the U.S. before turning 16 and have continuously lived in the country since June 15, 2007.
It does not provide “legal status.”
How many people are affected by DACA?
Nearly 800,000 undocumented youth are under the program’s umbrella.
Thousands of people could lose their jobs should Trump decide to phase out the DACA program, according to a recent study by the left-leaning think tank, the Center for American Progress.
Nearly 2,000 leaders have signed a letter asking Trump to protect the so-called Dreamers, including eight governors.
“As leaders of communities across the country – individuals and institutions that have seen these young people grow up in our communities – we recognize how they have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations and families.”
“As leaders of communities across the country – individuals and institutions that have seen these young people grow up in our communities – we recognize how they have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations and families,” the letter said.
Why did the Trump administration dismantle it?
During the presidential campaign, Trump referred to DACA as “illegal amnesty.” However, he seemingly signaled that he had softened his stance on the program in April when he told the Associated Press that DACA recipients could “rest easy.”
“For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “No action!”