On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration announced that it will offer “deferred action” to immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and meet other specific requirements. Hailed by immigrant-rights advocates as a bold response to the broken immigration system, the move temporarily eliminates the possibility of deportation for many youths who would qualify for relief under the DREAM Act—thereby giving Congress the space needed to craft a bipartisan solution that gives permanent residence to qualifying young people. This Q&A; guide outlines basic facts about the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) initiative, including eligibility requirements and important information on process and timing.

What is deferred action?

When an immigrant is granted “deferred action,” it means the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deemed the individual a low priority for immigration enforcement and has chosen to exercise its discretion and not deport the individual. Deferred action provides temporary relief from enforcement but may be revoked at any time. Deferred action is not amnesty or immunity. It does not provide lawful immigration status or a path to a green card or citizenship. It does not extend to any family members of the person granted deferred action.

Who will be eligible for deferred action?

Individuals may request deferred action if they:

  • Came to the United States before their 16th birthday.
  • Were under age 31 and had no valid immigration status on June 15, 2012.
  • Have continuously resided in the United States between June 15, 2007 and the present.
  • Are enrolled in school on the date of the request, graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Requests for deferred action will only be considered for immigrants who are 15 or older, unless they are currently in removal proceedings or have a final order of removal or voluntary departure, in which case they may apply if they are under 15.

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Please contact us to determine your eligibility for deferred action in a free and thorough legal consultation.