Fact Sheet: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (2023)

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a deferred action policy implemented by the Obama administration in June 2012. It is aimed at protecting qualifying young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, temporarily shielding them from deportation and providing them work authorization with possible renewal every year (until recently, every two years). DACA protections can be revoked by DHS and DACA recipients continue to lack legal status and a pathway to citizenship.

Fact Sheet: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (1)

Who are Dreamers?

A Dreamer is an undocumented immigrant who came to the United States as a child. Dreamers often have only known the U.S. as home and identify as Americans. There are as many as 3.6 million Dreamers residing in the United States, many of whom either did not apply for DACA or aged into the program after it stopped accepting new applicants. Only a minority of the total Dreamer population – approximately 653,000 Dreamers – are currently protected under DACA. Even at the height of participation, only about 800,000 Dreamers were protected.

DACA recipients came to the United States from all over the world, representing almost approximately 150 different birth countries, but approximately 80% of them were born in Mexico. The states with the largest DACA populations are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

The average DACA recipient arrived in the United States at age 7 and has lived here for more than 20 years. Because DACA required children to have arrived in the U.S. five years before its 2012 implementation (June 2007), younger Dreamers are not eligible for DACA. As the DACA recipient population has aged, a growing number have become parents. Currently, DACA recipients are parents to more than 250,000 U.S. citizen children.

(Video) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Informational Video (ENGLISH)

Is DACA still in place?

Yes, but its days may be numbered.

The Trump administrationannouncedon September 5, 2017 that it was endingDACA, a decision that was subsequently enjoined in the courts. Under a series of court decisions, Dreamers already covered underDACAhave been able to maintain their temporary protections and continue to apply to renew their DACA protections for additional two-year terms, but new applicants have been unable to obtain protections.

The Supreme Court announced on June 28, 2019 that it would consider whether the Trump administration’s rescission of DACA was lawful. It heard oral arguments on November 12, 2019 and issued a decision allowing the policy to remain in place on June 18, 2020.

In a 5-4 opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts determined that the Trump administration failed to provide a reasoned explanation for ending DACA, invalidating the rescission. However, the court’s decision permits the administration to make another attempt to end the protections for Dreamers if it uses proper administrative procedures, including a well-reasoned explanation for its actions.


UPDATE 7/17/2021. On July 16, 2021, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA is “illegal” and enjoined DHS from approving new applications. While finding DACA to be unlawful, Hanen temporarily stayed the portion of his decision that would halt DACA protections for current recipients. While the stay is in place, current DACA recipients will retain work authorization, protection from deportation, and the ability to renew their protections.

How did the Trump administration respond to the Supreme Court decision?

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the Trump administration resumed processing DACA renewals, but did not begin processing new DACA applications. Instead, it represented that it was putting new applications into a “pending” bucket while deciding how to proceed. Subsequently, on July 17, a federal judge in Maryland ordered the administration to begin accepting new DACA applications in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

However, on July 28, acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf issued a memorandum modifying DACA, indicating that DHS will not be accepting new applications and will only allow existing DACA recipients to renew their protections for one year, rather than two years. The memo from also indicated that the administration is evaluating the program to consider whether to terminate it entirely, taking into account considerations highlighted in the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing DACA to continue. The Wolf memorandum has subsequently been challenged in a lawsuit from a group of state attorneys general, who are challenging the refusal to accept new applications and the shortening of the renewal period to one year.

(Video) What is DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? Immigration Law

What are the requirements of DACA?

To be eligible for DACA, qualifying young undocumented individuals are required to demonstrate the following:

  • that they came to the U.S. before age 16;
  • that they have resided here continuously since June 15, 2007;
  • that they do not currently have legal immigration status;
  • that they were present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
  • that they were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012;
  • that they are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a GED certificate, or that they have been honorably discharged from the military;
  • that they have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

When USCIS was accepting new applicants for DACA, applicants were required to be at least 15 years of age and were required to pay an unwaivable application fee (originally $465, subsequently increased to $495, including $85 for biometrics).

What are the requirements to renew DACA?

To renew DACA, recipients must show (1) that they have continuously resided in the United States since submitting their most recently approved DACA request; (2) that they have not departed the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole; and (3) that they have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. (4) In addition, applicants for DACA renewal must pay an unwaivable application fee of $495.

Previously, DACA was renewable every two years. Following the July 2020 Wolf memorandum, DACA recipients must renew every year to maintain its protections.

(Video) DACA, explained

How do DACA recipients strengthen the United States?

Dreamers have been here for many years and make vital contributions to our communities. American citizens depend on Dreamers. They serve in our military. They contribute to our economy and communities as teachers, health care providers, neighbors, co-congregants, and more. Together with their families, they make our nation a better place

Dreamers help the American economy and serve in the military. Over the next 10 years, Dreamers who currently have DACA will contribute an estimated$420 billion to the GDP,$60 billion in fiscal impact, and$12.3 billion in taxestoSocial Security and Medicare if they can continue to work legally in the U.S.

Over 900 DACA recipients with them valuable language and medical skills have enlisted in the military under the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program.

The need for a permanent solution for Dreamers

Congress still needs to pass a permanent, bipartisan, legislative solution that protects Dreamers and provides them with permanent legal status, benefiting American workers and our nation. Even after the Supreme Court permitted DACA to remain in place, DACA lacks permanence. The Court made clear that the Trump administration has the authority to make another attempt to end the protections for Dreamers if it uses proper procedures and is able to provide a well-reasoned explanation for its actions. Already, the administration has scaled back the policy through issuing the Wolf memorandum. We should cement the contributions of Dreamers, not keep them at risk of deportation.

(Video) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [Official USCIS video]


What did the policy deferred action for childhood arrivals DACA provide? ›

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, providing temporary relief from deportation (deferred action) and work authorization to certain young undocumented immigrants. DACA was created on June 15, 2012, by then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

What do I write on Form I 765 worksheet? ›

Form I-765WS

In the spaces provided, indicate your current annual income, your current annual expenses, and the total current value of your assets. Supporting evidence is not required, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept and review any documentation that you submit.

What will disqualify you from DACA? ›

These are domestic violence, burglary, sexual abuse or exploitation, drug trafficking (or distribution), the unlawful possession or use of a firearm, and DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs). If a crime does not meet this definition, however, it still may be considered a significant misdemeanor.

What is the new DACA Rule 2022? ›

If you have a pending renewal application, you do not need to reapply. Effective Oct. 31, 2022, we will accept and process renewal DACA requests and accompanying requests for employment authorization under the final rule, consistent with court orders and an ongoing partial stay.

What can prevent you from renewing DACA? ›

DACA is barred by conviction of: Any felony, which is defined as an offense with a potential sentence of more than a year. Three misdemeanors that do not arise on the same date. A misdemeanor is defined as an offense with a potential sentence of more than five days but not more than one year.

What was the latest decision with DACA? ›

DACA Decision October 2022New!

On October 5, 2022, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals published a decision on the Texas v. United States DACA case. The Court of Appeals agrees with the original judgment on the case that DACA is unlawful but renewals for existing DACA recipients will remain open.

Why my i-765 was denied? ›

Reasons for Denial of Work Authorization

The first and most common cause of denial is missing, incomplete, or inaccurate information in your Form I-765 submission. For instance, submitting your I-765 after your green card without including the USCIS green card receipt notice will likely result in denial.

What do you write in a DACA worksheet? ›

The first asks for your full name (your family name, given name, and middle name). The second part asks for your financial information. You'll have to report a U.S. dollar amount for your current annual income, current annual expenses, and the total current value of your assets.

How long does it take to get I-765 approved? ›

Processing Times

In general, it takes about 150–210 days (5–7 months) for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process Form I-765. Previously, USCIS processed work permit applications within 90 days, but a growing backlog has caused additional delays.

Can you fly with DACA permit? ›

DACA holders and individuals with pending DACA applications are able to travel domestically with the proper identification documents. Any individual flying domestically in the U.S. must present a valid, government-issued ID that matches the name on their flight reservation.

What happens if DACA gets denied? ›

According to the USCIS FAQ, USCIS will send letters to the DACA applicants identified by USPS inviting them to resubmit their applications. If you receive such a letter, you will have 33 days from the letter's date to resubmit your application—so make sure to resubmit as quickly as you can.

Can I get fired if my DACA expires? ›

Unfortunately, your employer can legally terminate your employment once your work EAD expires. However, it does not have the right to discriminate against you in advance of your work permit expiration date.

Is DACA being cancelled 2022? ›

DHS announced a final rule to continue the DACA program under the current policy. It went into effect on October 31, 2022. This rule means there are no changes for current DACA recipients and their ability to renew.

How long does it take for DACA to be approved 2022? ›

It generally takes at least 90 days to process the I-765 and produce your new employment authorization card (work permit). Make sure USCIS has a current and safe address where you can receive mail. Currently, USCIS is granting DACA and producing EAD cards that are valid for a period of one year only.

Is DACA still active 2023? ›

Under current court orders, the government is not processing first-time DACA applications, but existing DACA approvals remain in place and can be renewed.

How can I speed up my DACA renewal? ›

You can generally request expedited processing by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) or by asking Emma after you have obtained a receipt notice. (You can access Emma by clicking on the Ask Emma icon on the top right of this page).

How long does DACA renewal take 2022? ›

USCIS' current goal is to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. If your renewal request has been pending more than 105 days and you have not heard from us, please feel free to contact us. Please contact us through the USCIS Contact Center or by sending a message from your USCIS online account inbox.

Can I renew my DACA alone? ›

Renewing your DACA by yourself can seem like a daunting task. The truth, however, is that in most cases you can easily renew your DACA from the comfort of your own home.

How long is DACA taking right now? ›

How long does it take to get DACA for the first time ? When you apply for the first time to consider for DACA status, it can take anywhere from 5 months to 11 months depending on the Service Center that is processing your application.

What is the acceptance rate for DACA? ›

Every year, on average, 351,072 people apply to renew their DACA status and work authorization. Of these, from 2015 to 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) approved about 78% and denied or rejected about 7%, while about 14% remained pending.

What happens to DACA students now? ›

While litigation continues—possibly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court—those with DACA status will continue to be protected from deportation and maintain their work permits. They will also be able to renew these protections. New applications and employments requests are being blocked.

Can I reapply for an I-765 if denied? ›

Refiling Following Rejection

Normally, if your OPT/STEM OPT Extension is rejected, you must file a completely new application withUSCIS. If the application is rejected after your filing deadline (the end of the 60-day grace period for OPT; end of the OPT EAD for STEM OPT) refiling would normally be denied.

Can we travel with I-765 is pending? ›

You must file Form I-765 while in the United States." This makes travel with a pending I-765 inherently risky and not recommended.

Can you travel while I-765 is pending? ›

Can I travel outside the U.S. while my I-765 application is pending, before I receive my EAD card? Yes, you may travel internationally before receiving your EAD if necessary, without any negative impact on your application. It is advised that you carry a copy of your I-797 receipt notice.

How do I write a letter of recommendation for DACA? ›

What to Include
  1. The history of the personal or professional relationship with the immigrant.
  2. Salient positive qualities embodied by the immigrant.
  3. Expected future contributions that the immigrant will make to the broader community.
Jul 17, 2022

What is DACA summary? ›

DACA is an administrative relief that protects eligible immigrants who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program requires that the DACA status and work permit be renewed every two years.

How do I write a cover letter for DACA? ›

You cover letter should include:
  1. USCIS Lockbox Address where you're sending your application.
  2. Date of letter.
  3. A subject (re:) ...
  4. Greeting.
  5. A brief introductory paragraph/sentence to say what's in the letter and package.
  6. A list of content in the application packet in order of inclusion in your packet.
Sep 15, 2021

What did the policy deferred action for childhood arrivals DACA provide quizlet? ›

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) A policy by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allows certain young immigrants who do not have lawful immigration status, and came to the US as children to remain in the US temporarily without fear of deportation.

What does the executive order deferred action for childhood arrivals DACA do quizlet? ›

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an American immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work ...

What is the purpose of DACA quizlet? ›

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation.

How does DACA help with school? ›

While they do not get free tuition, several states allow undocumented students or individuals with DACA status to apply for financial aid or scholarships or to pay in-state tuition rates to ease the finanical burden of attending college.

What are the requirements for deferred action? ›

Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; Are not above the age of thirty.

How did the US Supreme Court respond to the Trump administration's cancellation of the DACA program quizlet? ›

But a lower court order required the administration to continue accepting renewal applications for those under the DACA program, and the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's request to intervene.

Which of the following requirements must be met to qualify for a deferral under 351 quizlet? ›

In order to qualify for deferral under Section 351, which of the following requirements must be met? acquiring corp transfers its own stock to the target corp shareholders in exchange for the target corp stock.

What is a deferred action package? ›

Deferred action is an act of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal of an individual. Individuals who receive deferred action will not be removed from the United States for a specified period of time, unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chooses to terminate the grant of deferred action.

How does Deferred Enforced Departure work? ›

DED is in the president's discretion to authorize as part of his constitutional power to conduct foreign relations. Although DED is not a specific immigration status, individuals covered by DED are not subject to removal from the United States for a designated period of time.

What was the purpose of executive order 13228? ›

3 CFR 13228 - Executive Order 13228 of October 8, 2001. Establishing the Office of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Council.


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