On June 15, 2012, in an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, DHS announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, which offers relief from deportation for certain undocumented young people who are in the United States. Although DACA does not offer a path to a US green card or US citizenship, DACA closely resembles various versions of legislation introduced over the last decade and known generally as DREAM, or the DREAM Act, and allows qualifying individuals to temporarily remain and work legally in the US.
An individual should satisfy the following criteria before he or she may be considered for DACA through an exercise of prosecutorial discretion pursuant to the Memorandum issued by US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on June 15, 2012:
The above criteria will be considered in determining eligibility for DACA, whether or not an individual is already in removal proceedings or subject to a final order of removal. No individual should receive relief under DACA and the June 15, 2012, DHS memorandum unless they first pass a background check. Requests for relief pursuant to the DACA memorandum will be decided on a case by case basis. DHS cannot provide assurance that deferred action will be granted in all cases.
For individuals who are granted deferred action under DACA by either ICE or USCIS, USCIS will accept applications to determine whether these individuals qualify for work authorization during this period of deferred action.
The DHS Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process is not yet in effect, so requests for deferred action should not be submitted at this time. In the coming weeks, USCIS will outline and announce the procedures by which individuals can engage in the DACA process. Beginning June 18, individuals may call the USCIS hotline at 1-800-375-5283 from 8 am to 8 pm, with questions or to request more information on the new DACA process. The hotline offers assistance in English and Spanish. Individuals seeking more information on the new deferred action process should visit the USCIS web site.
Finally, Secretary Napolitano notes that the June 15, 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memo confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship.