U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a statement in July to remind relevant audiences that the policies adopted in 2012 regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are still valid despite the Supreme Court’s 4-4 stalemated United States v. Texas decision earlier in the summer. However, the justices’ tie decision also means the court injunction that prohibited the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program from implementation remains in effect.
For those who meet the requirements laid out in the 2012 DACA guidelines can still move forward in the process and file either an initial request or a renewal request. The guidelines, by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on June 15, 2012, explains that certain people who came to the United States as children and who meet other requirements can request DACA. The deferred action, which refers to the use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against undocumented immigrants, offers a reprieve of two years and can be renewed by those enrolled in the program.
DACA requirements include:
- Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Entered the United States prior turning age 16
- Continuous residency in the United States since June 15, 2007 and at the time of requesting DACA consideration with USCIS
- No lawful status on June 15, 2012
- Currently in school, a graduate of certification completion from high school or obtained a general education development (GED) certificate; or honorably discharged Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States veteran
- No felony convictions, significant misdemeanors or three or more misdemeanors and no threat to national security or public safety.
DACA applicants must be at least 15 years old or older to request acceptance in the program. DACA isn’t granted to those who are currently in removal proceedings or who have a final removal or voluntary departure order.
President Obama announced the DAPA program as an executive order in November 2014. In February, an appeals court issued an injunction to block the executive action based on a suit brought by the state of Texas and a number of other states.