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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain undocumented persons who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

The policy was created after acknowledgment that these undocumented students had been largely raised in the United States, and was seen as a way to remove immigration enforcement attention from "low priority" individuals with good behavior.[1] The undocumented student population was rapidly increasing; approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools on a yearly basis.[2]

From the start, the Pew Research Center estimated that up to 1.7 million people might be eligible.[3] As of June 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had received 844,931 initial applications for DACA status, of which 741,546 (88%) were approved, 60,269 (7%) were denied, and 43,121 (5%) were pending. Over half of those accepted reside in California and Texas.[4]

In November 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama attempted to expand DACA.[5] However, in December 2014, Texas and 25 other states, all with Republican governors, sued in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas asking the court to enjoin implementation of both the DACA expansion and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (a similar program).[6][7][8] In February 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a preliminary injunction blocking the expansion from going into effect while the case, Texas v. United States, proceeds.[9][10] After progressing through the court system, an equally divided (4-4) Supreme Court left the injunction in place, without setting any precedent.[11]

On February 14, 2017 a CNN report on the detention of 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina in Northwest Detention Center,[12] Tacoma, Washington following his arrest in his father's Des Moines, Washington home, observed that "The case raises questions about what it could mean" for the 750,000 Dreamers, who had "received permission to stay under DACA."[12][13]

On March 7, 2017 the Los Angeles Times[14] reported that 22-year-old Daniela Vargas of Jackson, Mississippi became the second DACA recipient to be detained by the Trump Administration, further raising speculation about President Trump's commitment to Dreamers and questioning whether immigrants who speak out against the administration's policies should fear retaliation [1].

Vargas was released from LaSalle Detention Center on March 10, 2017 [2] and Ramirez Medina's release followed on March 29, 2017 [3]. However, questions remain regarding the future of DACA recipients due to the Trump administration's initial plans [4].

On June 16, 2017, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced that it would rescind the executive order by the Barack Obama administration that expanded the DACA program, though the DACA program's overall existence would continue to be reviewed.[15][16]

Contents

HistoryEdit

President Barack Obama announced the policy with a speech in the Rose Garden of the White House on 15 June 2012,[17] a date chosen as the 30th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, a Supreme Court decision barring public schools from charging undocumented children tuition. Republican Party leaders denounced the program as an abuse of executive power.[18]

USCIS began accepting applications for the program on 15 August 2012.[3]

Republican responseEdit

Nearly all Republicans in the House of Representatives (along with three Democrats) voted 224-201 to defund DACA in June 2013.[19] Lead author of the amendment Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) stated, "The point here is...the President does not have the authority to waive immigration law, nor does he have the authority to create it out of thin air, and he's done both with these Morton memos in this respect."[20] However, in practice Congress does not have the ability to defund DACA since the program is almost entirely funded by its own application fees rather than congressional appropriations.[21]

Although politicians are divided on immigration issues related to DACA, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated that he would honor the grants of deferred action approved under DACA until a more permanent legislation was put into place.[22]

Under the presidency of Donald Trump, DACA has been under scrutiny, also in view of Trump's earlier announcement during his candidacy that he intended to end that program.[23][24]

ImplementationEdit

DACA was formally initiated by a policy memorandum sent from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to the heads of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The memo formally directed them to exercise their enforcement discretion on behalf of individuals who met the requirements.[25]

To apply for DACA, undocumented persons must pay a $495 application fee, submit several, and produce documents showing they meet the requirements. They do not need legal representation.

EligibilityEdit

To be eligible, undocumented persons must have entered the United States before their 16th birthday and prior to June 2007, be currently in school, a high school graduate or be honorably discharged from the military, be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security. The program does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship,[26] nor does it provide eligibility for federal welfare or student aid.[27]

In August 2012, the Migration Policy Institute estimated that as many as 1.76 million people could be eligible for DACA. Of those, 28% were under 15 and would have to wait until reaching that age to apply. In addition, roughly 20% did not meet any of the education criteria, but could become eligible by enrolling in a program before submitting their application. 74% of the eligible population was born in Mexico or Central America. Smaller proportions came from Caribbean and South America (11%), Asia (9%), and the rest of the world (6%).[28]

To qualify for DACA, applicants must meet the following major requirements, although meeting them does not guarantee approval:[26]

  • Came to the United States before their 16th birthday
  • Have lived continuously in the United States since 15 June 2007
  • Were under age 31 on 15 June 2012 (i.e., born on 16 June 1981 or after)
  • Were physically present in the United States on 15 June 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS
  • Had no lawful status on 15 June 2012
  • Have completed high school or a GED, have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or are enrolled in school
  • Have not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety

To show proof of qualification (verify these requirements), applicants must submit three forms; I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and I-765WS, Worksheet, as well as supporting documentation.[26]

Travel eligibilityEdit

In addition to the $495 application fee, if a DACA qualifying undocumented citizens wants to travel abroad there is an additional fee and application requirement.

Form I-131 Application Type D, with a fee of $575 needs to be submitted to USCIS.[29]

To receive advance parole one must travel abroad for the sole purpose of an educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes. This must be indicating on the Form I-131 as described below:

  • Educational purposes, such as studying abroad;
  • Employment purposes, such as overseas positions, interviews, training, or meetings with clients; or
  • Humanitarian purposes, such as travel for medical reasons, attend funeral services for a family member, or visit a sick relative.

Travel for leisure is not a valid purpose.[29]

RenewalsEdit

USCIS released the process for DACA renewals in June 2014 and directed applicants to file their documents during a 30-day window starting 150 days before the expiration of their previous DACA status. Renewing requires an additional $495 fee.[30]

As of June 2016, there had been 606,264 renewal cases, with 526,288 approved, 4,703 denied and 75,205 renewals pending.[4]

ExpansionEdit

In November 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama announced changes to DACA which would expand it to include undocumented citizens who entered the country prior to 2010, eliminate the requirement that applicants be younger than 31 years old, and lengthen the renewable deferral period to two years. The Pew Research Center estimated that this would increase the number of eligible people by about 330,000.[31]

However, in December 2014, Texas and 25 other states, all with Republican governors, sued in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas asking the court to enjoin implementation of both the DACA expansion and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (a similar program).[32][33][34] In February 2015, Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a preliminary injunction blocking the expansion from going into effect while the case, Texas v. United States, proceeds.[35][36] After progressing through the court system, an equally divided (4-4) Supreme Court left the injunction in place, without setting any precedent.[11]

The court's temporary injunction does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA under the guidelines established in 2012.[26]

ImpactEdit

A 2016 study found that DACA increased labor force participation and decreased the unemployment rate for DACA-eligible immigrants. DACA also increased the income of undocumented citizens in the bottom of the income distribution. However, DACA had no significant effects on the likelihood of attending school. Using these estimates, DACA moved 50,000 to 75,000 unauthorized immigrants into employment.[27]

State responsesEdit

State-level government officials are also divided on the issue. Although state governments cannot affect DACA itself, they can control the state benefits available to individuals under deferred action.

CaliforniaEdit

To assist those eligible under the program,[37] the state of California has agreed to support those who receive a DACA grant by allowing access to a state driver's license,[38] provided that such individuals participate in specific state guidelines (such as paying income taxes). The state of California also allows DACA holding individuals to qualify for Medi-Cal.[39]

ArizonaEdit

Arizona became the first state to oppose President Obama's order for DACA when Governor Jan Brewer issued a counter-order that prevents those with deferred status from receiving any state benefits.[40] This caused controversy,[41] as eligible and approved applicants would still be unable to obtain a driver's license.[42] In May 2013, a federal district court held that this policy was likely unconstitutional. In 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a preliminary injunction against Brewer's ban, and in November 2014 held this ban was in violation of the law.[43]

MarylandEdit

Former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake chose to open the city's doors to undocumented immigrants to boost its dwindling population. The city boasts an executive order prohibiting officials from questioning an individual's immigration status, especially about Maryland's Dream Act, which grants in-state tuition rates to "any student who graduates from a Maryland high school and comes from a family who has paid taxes. If the individual is a male he must also complete his Selective Service form and prove his acceptance."[44]

IllinoisEdit

In a New York Times interview, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated that he wants to make Chicago the "most immigrant-friendly city in the country". In addition to offering in-state tuition for undocumented citizens, he has also made plans for an ordinance that would prevent undocumented citizens with no criminal background from being turned over to immigration enforcement agencies.[45]

TexasEdit

Although in-state tuition is still offered, Governor Rick Perry announced his opposition to DACA by distributing a letter to all state agencies, meant "to ensure that all Texas agencies understand that Secretary Napolitano's guidelines confer absolutely no legal status whatsoever to any undocumented citizens who qualifies for the federal 'deferred action' designation.”[46]

NebraskaEdit

Governor Dave Heineman, also joined in the opposition against DACA, confirming that the state, will continue its practice of not issuing driver's licenses, welfare benefits, or other public benefits to illegal immigrants" regardless of deferred status. Since then, however, Nebraska legislature has made it legal for these people to acquire driver's licenses.[47]

MichiganEdit

In October 2012, the Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, announced that Michigan will not issue drivers licenses or state identification of any kind to beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.[48] In making this decision, it was clear that the Secretary of State erroneously conflated the notion of "lawful presence," which is required under Michigan Law to issue a driver's license, and "lawful status," a different legal concept entirely.[49] USCIS has made it clear that DACA beneficiaries do not possess legal status, but does not state that DACA beneficiaries are unlawfully present; in fact, it states that DACA beneficiaries will not accrue unlawful presence time here while they are in this deferred action status.[50] The Secretary of State relied upon USCIS' own explanation, which discusses legal status, not lawful presence.[50] In response to this policy, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Johnson, alleging that the policy violated both Michigan law and the U.S. Constitution.[51] On January 18, 2013, USCIS updated their "Frequently Asked Questions" page about DACA, clarifying, among other things, that DACA beneficiaries are, in fact, lawfully present in the United States.[52] On 1 February 2013, Johnson reversed her policy and began issuing drivers licenses to DACA beneficiaries on February 19, 2013.[53]

North CarolinaEdit

North Carolina briefly suspended giving out driver's licenses to DACA grantees while waiting for the state attorney general’s opinion. The attorney general decided that even without formal immigration status the DACA grantees were to be granted legal presence. After that, the state once again continued to give out drivers licenses and allowed the DACA grantees to become legal members of North Carolina.[54]

VirginiaEdit

On April 29, 2014, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring sent a letter to the director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the presidents of Virginia public colleges and universities, and the chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, in response to inquiries from public institutions of higher education on whether DACA students are eligible for in-state tuition. The attorney general advised these institutions that under Virginia law, DACA students who meet Virginia's domicile requirements are eligible for in-state tuition.[55][56]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Stottlemyre, Scott (2015). "Strict Scrutiny for Undocumented Childhood Arrivals". The Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice – via EBSCOhost. 
  2. ^ Adams, Angela (2015). "ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION FOR UNDOCUMENTED AND "DACAMENTED" STUDENTS: THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS". Indiana International & Comparative Law Review. 
  3. ^ a b Jeffrey S. Passel and Mark Hugo Lopez (14 August 2012). "Up to 1.7 million illegal immigrant youth may benefit from new deportation rules". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Number of I-821D,Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics and Case Status: 2012-2016 (June 30)" (PDF). US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Jens Manuel Krogstad and Jeffrey S. Passel (20 November 2014). "Those from Mexico will benefit most from Obama’s executive action". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Zargham, Mohammad (November 9, 2015). "Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left". Reuters. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ David Montgomery and Julia Preston (3 December 2014). "17 states suing on immigration". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Texas et. al. v. United States et. al.: Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief" (PDF). Office of the Attorney General of Texas. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "After Judge's Ruling Obama Delays Immigration Actions", The New York Times, February 18, 2015 .
  10. ^ Kalhan, Anil (2015). "Deferred Action, Supervised Enforcement Discretion, and the Rule of Law Basis for Executive Action on Immigration". UCLA Law Review Discourse. 63: 58. 
  11. ^ a b Liptak, Adam; Shear, Michael D. (24 June 2016). "SPLIT COURT STIFLES OBAMA ON IMMIGRATION: A 9-Word Ruling Erases a Shield for Millions". The New York Times. pp. A1, Column 1. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Ariane de Vogue, Madison Park, Artemis Moshtaghian and Mary Kay Mallonee (February 15, 2017), Immigrant protected under Obama's 'Dreamer' program is detained, CNN, retrieved February 15, 2017, The conflicting stories come amid immigrant rights attorneys' fears that President Donald Trump's administration will target the Dreamers, who were temporarily allowed to live and work in the United States after passing background checks. About 750,000 people have received permission to stay under DACA. 
  13. ^ Daniel Levine and Kristina Cooke (February 14, 2017), Exclusive: U.S. arrests Mexican immigrant in Seattle covered by Obama program, San Francisco: Reuters, retrieved February 14, 2017 
  14. ^ "'Dreamer' targeted for deportation for speaking out on immigration, attorneys say". Los Angeles Times. 2017-03-07. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-04-21. 
  15. ^ Gerstein, Josh (15 June 2017). "Trump won't alter status of current Dreamers". Politico. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 
  16. ^ Hesson, Ted (16 June 2017). "DACA still ‘under review,’ Trump administration says". Politico. Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Remarks by the President on Immigration". whitehouse.gov. 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  18. ^ Preston, Julia; Cushman, Jr., John H. (15 June 2012). "Obama to permit young migrants to remain in U.S.". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  19. ^ Ted Hesson, "House Republicans Vote to Defund Immigrant Program", Fusion/ABC, June 6, 2013. http://fusion.net/justice/story/immigration-reform-hopeful-cringe-house-gop-votes-defund-15334
  20. ^ Pete Kasperowicz, "House votes to defund Obama's 'administrative amnesty' for immigrants," The Hill, June , 2013. http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/303869-house-votes-to-defund-obamas-administrative-amnesty-for-immigrants
  21. ^ Lind, Dara (31 July 2014). "How Ted Cruz helped kill the GOP’s border bill". Vox. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  22. ^ Sherry, Allison (1 October 2012). "Mitt Romney would honor Obama administration's illegal immigrant work permits". The Denver Post. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  23. ^ Brian Bennett, Michael A. MemoliContact Reporters (2017-02-16). "The White House has found ways to end protection for 'Dreamers' while shielding Trump from blowback". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  24. ^ Sabrina Siddiqui, Oliver Laughland (2017-02-21). "Trump plans to greatly expand number of immigrants targeted for deportation". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-02-22. 
  25. ^ Napolitano, Janet (15 June 2012). "Exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children" (PDF). United States Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c d "Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)". U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved December 2, 2016. 
  27. ^ a b Pope, Nolan G. (2016). "The effects of DACAmentation: The impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on illegal aliens". Journal of Public Economics. 143: 98–114. doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.08.014. 
  28. ^ Jeanne Batalova and Michelle Mittelstadt (August 2012). "Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy". Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved 2014-11-21. 
  29. ^ a b "Application for Travel Document". USCIS. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  30. ^ Nicole Prchal Svajlenka and Audrey Singer (8 July 2014). "DACA renewals ramp up". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  31. ^ Jens Manuel Krogstad and Jeffrey S. Passel (20 November 2014). "Those from Mexico will benefit most from Obama’s executive action". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  32. ^ Zargham, Mohammad (November 9, 2015). "Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left". Reuters. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  33. ^ David Montgomery and Julia Preston (3 December 2014). "17 states suing on immigration". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  34. ^ "Texas et. al. v. United States et. al.: Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief" (PDF). Office of the Attorney General of Texas. 3 December 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  35. ^ "After Judge's Ruling Obama Delays Immigration Actions", The New York Times, February 18, 2015 .
  36. ^ Kalhan, Anil (2015). "Deferred Action, Supervised Enforcement Discretion, and the Rule of Law Basis for Executive Action on Immigration". UCLA Law Review Discourse. 63: 58. 
  37. ^ "California lawmakers seek relief for illegal aliens to work in state". Los Angeles Times. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  38. ^ "California will give driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants". Los Angeles Times. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  39. ^ Brindis, Claire (2014). "Realizing the Dream for Californians Eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Demographics and Health Coverage." (PDF). Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research – via EBSCOhost. 
  40. ^ Schwartz, David (15 August 2012). "Jan Brewer Signs Executive Order Denying State Benefits To Children Of illegal aliens". Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  41. ^ Shoichet, Catherine E. "Driver's license rules fuel new immigration debate". CNN. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  42. ^ Eng, James. "Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's ban on driver's licenses for illegal aliens likely to wind up in court". NBC News. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  43. ^ "Decision—at long last—paves the way for young immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses". ACLU of Arizona. 24 November 2014. 
  44. ^ Lopez, Tracy (23 August 2012). "Baltimore Welcomes Immigrants – No Questions Asked". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  45. ^ Preston, Julia (10 July 2012). "Obama Policy on Immigrants Is Challenged by Chicago". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-12. 
  46. ^ Aguilar, Julian (20 August 2012). "Perry: "Deferred Action" Doesn't Change State Policies". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  47. ^ "Nebraska Follows Arizona: No Benefits for 'Deferred' Immigrants Read more on Newsmax.com: Nebraska Follows Arizona: No Benefits for 'Deferred' Immigrants Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama's Re-Election? Vote Here Now!". Newsmax. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  48. ^ Oosting, Jonathan (18 October 2012). "Federal program allows some illegal aliens to work, but they won't be able to drive in Michigan". mlive.com. 
  49. ^ "Issue-Brief-SOS-DACA-licenses.pdf - Google Drive". Docs.google.com. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  50. ^ a b "USCIS - Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process". Uscis.gov. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  51. ^ "One Michigan v. Ruth Johnson". American Civil Liberties Union. 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  52. ^ "USCIS - Frequently Asked Questions". Uscis.gov. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  53. ^ Jonathan Oosting. "Michigan Secretary of State to issue driver's licenses to immigrants approved for federal deportation deferral program". MLive.com. Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  54. ^ "Are Individuals Granted Deferred Action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Policy Eligible for State Driver’s Licenses?". Immigration Law Center. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  55. ^ Letter from Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, Commonwealth of Virginia, to the Director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, and the presidents of Virginia public colleges and universities (April 29, 2014).
  56. ^ Laura Vozzella & Pamela Constable, Virginia attorney general declares 'dreamers' eligible for in-state tuition, Washington Post (April 29, 2014).

External linksEdit