Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a federal program that protects certain undocumented immigrants from deportation. Created by an Obama administration Executive Order in 2012, it allows people who were brought to the United States before their 16th birthday without authorization to apply for temporary protected status for two years, renewable for two year terms. Applicants must meet several criteria, as defined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services:
- Be 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.
In September 2017, the Trump administration announced that it planned to end DACA. A federal court ruled that action illegal and kept the program in place. In November 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on several cases challenging the decision to end DACA; a ruling is expected in June 2020.