Deferred action for immigration purposes refers to the authorization of individuals who arrived in the U.S. as minors by their parents who were undocumented aliens. The program, also known as DACA or the “Dream Act,” gives low priority to these individuals for immigration enforcement though they are technically considered illegal aliens.
Benefits of DACA Application
The benefits of applying under DACA are obvious–you will not be deported if law enforcement or an INS official is informed that you are undocumented. You can apply for deferred action if you meet certain criteria:
- You are under the age of 15.
- You came to the US before you turned 16.
- You are under age 31 and were undocumented as of June 15, 2012.
- You are either in school, graduated from high school, have a GED or were honorably discharged from the US military.
- You have no felony or significant misdemeanor convictions, or three or more misdemeanor convictions and pose no threat to national security.
- You can prove you have been in the US continuously since June 15, 2007.
You can still apply if you are under deportation threat or have proceedings pending against you and are under 15. This will delay any further proceedings for two years but you can also renew your application so long as you were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012.
You may also receive deferred action so long as you are not in immigration detention.
Once you receive DACA authorization, you can receive a work permit or EAD if you can prove an economic necessity for working.
What DACA Does Not Do
Receiving deferred action does not allow you to request it for any other family member such as a parent. Your deferred action status does not grant you legal status or enable you to have a clear pathway toward obtaining legal residency status or citizenship. Your deferred status can also be revoked at any time.
It does not guarantee that you can receive a driver’s license, reduced in-state tuition or tuition assistance or any other state or federal benefit.
Check to see if your state has its own version of DACA and consult with an immigration attorney as to how you can receive the benefits it confers.