One year ago Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process.
DREAMers around the country gathered this weekend to celebrate Deferred Action’s one-year anniversary.
Through an executive order, the Obama administration created Deferred Action to allow certain young undocumented immigrants to receive relief from deportation.
Once granted Deferred Action, an undocumented youth is allowed to stay in the U.S. for two years without the threat of deportation, and during that two-year period, the recipient can apply for employment authorization, a social security card and a driver’s license. After the two years, Deferred Action can be renewed.
In the year since Deferred Action was enacted, the program has faced plenty of opposition.
States like Arizona and Nebraska have denied driver’s licenses to Deferred Action recipients even after the Department of Homeland Security stated that Deferred Action recipients are considered lawfully present even if they don’t have legal status.
Just last week, an amendment to reverse Deferred Action passed in the Iowa Congress. However, it is not expected to become law.
Several lawsuits have been filed against states who are denying Deferred Action benefits.
The fierce opposition can perhaps be to blame for the fewer-than-expected Deferred Action applications. An estimated 2 million DREAMers are said to be eligible for the program, but, as of May 31, only around 500,000 people have applied.
Out of the total applications received, 365,237 have been approved.
What could also be a contributing factor is the common misconception that the application process is difficult. But the reality is that it does not have to be difficult..
Once an applicant confirms his or her eligibility, there are five basic steps to the Deferred Action process:
- Collect documents for Deferred Action eligibility
- Complete Form I-821D, I-765 and I-765 WS
- Mail your documents, your forms, and your fees to USCIS
- Submit biometrics
- Check status of application
Find out if you are eligible for Deferred Action today and begin your process.