What is DACA?
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.
DACA does NOT give any legal status to those that apply and it does not establish a pathway towards citizenship. It gives temporary protection from deportation procedures, as well as a two-year work permit for those who qualify.
Who Qualifies for DACA?
You may request DACA if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Anyone requesting DACA must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. You must also be at least 15 years or older to request DACA.
If you have specific questions about DACA please make a legal services appointment with CARECEN.
Check Your Case Status Online
On December 7, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security issued a DACA Update that stated the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is doing the following:
- Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017;
- Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017;
- Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017;
- Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
- Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
For more information, please read the CSU’s DACA Updates page.
DACA Legal Updates Presentation
Watch this helpful virtual presentation from CARECEN to learn important information about the 2020 updates to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This video discusses a variety of topics in depth, including the history of DACA, Supreme Court cases related to the recent DACA updates, eligibility requirements, initial applications, renewals and advance parole.
What Can You Do If You Don’t Qualify for DACA?
Unfortunately, DACA does not benefit all in our undocumented community. Undocumented students without DACA can face additional barriers, but many pathways exist for these students to accomplish their goals and thrive. Check out these resources by Immigrants Rising:
- Other forms of immigration relief exist beyond DACA. You may read more about them in this guide, “Beyond DACA: Immigration Options Every Undocumented Person Should Know”
- To see what you’re eligible for, make an appointment for general consultation with our legal services team.
- Without a work permit obtained from DACA, generating income can be difficult. Many undocumented individuals have found success starting a business and freelancing as an alternative. To learn more about how to start, check out this resource filled with guides and online modules.