On June 15, 2012, President Obama’s administration announced through executive action that it would grant “deferred action” status to young people who would have qualified for the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001 and reintroduced in 2010, but was not passed into law. Young people who qualify for the DREAM Act are those who:
- Came into the United States at the age of 15 or younger,
- Are high school students with good moral character,
- Have a high school diploma or were awarded a GED.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grants a moratorium on the deportation of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, and have matriculated through the U.S. education system.
Young people who wish to apply for DACA:
- Between the ages of 15-30 years old,
- Entered the United States before the age of 16,
- Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007,
- Present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time of the applicant’s DACA request,
- Without lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012,
- Currently in school, graduated from high school, obtained GED/in process of obtaining GED or graduated with an associates or bachelor’s degree.
If an applicant qualifies for DACA, he/she will not be deported. The applicant will be able to apply for a work permit. In the State of New York, the applicant may also qualify for a driver’s license. A DACA recipient may also apply for advance parole, which will allow for travel outside of the United States.
Applicants with a criminal conviction should consult with an immigration attorney before filing an application. Each DACA application is adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, and decisions vary depending on criminal record.