DACA final rule takes effect this month
On Halloween this year, the Biden administration’s final regulation on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) went into effect. The final version of this rule closely reflects the original executive order enacted in 2012 during the Obama Administration.
So, what is deferred action? Deferred action is a longstanding immigration practice that is granted by the executive branch to undocumented immigrants. It delays deportation and allows an individual to legally hold a job. However, it does not provide legal status or a path to permanent residence or citizenship.
Since its inception in 2012, the effects of DACA have been significant. It has allowed more than 800,000 young people to remain with their families in the US (which for many is the only country they remember living in, despite not having legal status here). DACA has also allowed these young folks to give back to their communities by being authorized to work.
Now, DACA has been codified into law. What was once an executive order has now become a federal regulation. This means that DACA is protected from legal challenges in the future, and in turn is protecting 611,000 undocumented childhood immigrants who have been relieved of their fears of deportation.
According to the USCIS website, they have the sole ability to grant DACA to you if you meet the following requirements:
- “ Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 (that is, you were born on or after June 16, 1981);
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the time of filing your request for DACA;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time you filed your request for DACA with USCIS;
- Had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, and at the time you filed your request for DACA, meaning that:
- You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012*, or
- Any lawful immigration status or parole that you had before June 15, 2012, expired on or before June 15, 2012, and
- Any lawful status that you had after June 15, 2012, expired or otherwise terminated before you submitted your request for DACA;
- Are currently enrolled in school, have graduated, or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor described in 8 CFR 236.22(b)(6), or 3 or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
In a statement regarding the enaction of DACA rule on October 31, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas said, “Thanks to DACA, we have been enriched by young people who contribute so much to our communities and our country.”
Mayorkas added, “Yet, we need Congress to pass legislation that provides an enduring solution for the young Dreamers who have known no country other than the United States as their own.”