On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has shielded hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country as young children from deportation since it was introduced in 2012 by President Obama. Despite the Trump administration efforts to terminate DACA, today President Biden orders DACA benefits be given to eligible immigrants.
Under this directive, termed DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for deferred action, on a case-by-case basis AND can apply for work authorization in the U.S. if they meet the following criteria:
1. Was under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012;
2. Came to the United States before reaching his or her 16th birthday;
3. Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4. Was present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
5. Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a general educational development (GED) certificate;
6. Has not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
It is important to understand that DACA is not a legal immigration status. Biden orders DACA benefits is a discretionary decision by DHS (Department of Homeland Security) not to pursue enforcement against a person for a specific period. A grant of DACA does not alter an individual’s existing immigration status or provide a path to citizenship.
While DACA does not cure any prior or subsequent period of unlawful presence, time in DACA status is considered a period of stay authorized by the Secretary of DHS. An individual does not accrue unlawful presence while in DACA status or while a DACA request is pending if the individual filed a request before reaching age 18. DHS can renew or terminate a grant of deferred action at any time.
For more information on Biden orders DACA Benefits,
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