Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

About DACA graphic

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration executive order (not a law) established by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain undocumented/illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

Who is eligible for an initial grant of DACA?

To be eligible for deferred action under the DACA program, a person must fall into the following qualifications: 

Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.

  • Have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
  • Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and on every day since August 15, 2012.
  • Not have a lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. To meet this requirement, (1) you must have entered the U.S. without papers before June 15, 2012, or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status must have expired before June 15, 2012; and (2) you must not have a lawful immigration status at the time you apply for DACA.
  • Be at least 15 years old at the time you apply for DACA. If you are currently in deportation proceedings, have a voluntary departure order, or have a deportation order, and are not in immigration detention, you may apply for DACA even if you are not yet 15 years old.
  • Have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces, or “be in school” on the date you submit your DACA application. See below for more information about meeting the “be in school” requirement.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense. A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
  • Have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense or three or more misdemeanor offenses. See below for more information about offenses that may disqualify you.
  • Not pose a threat to national security or public safety. DHS has not defined precisely what these terms mean but has indicated that they include gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the U.S.


Information About DACA Recipients

In the Center for American Progress Survey of DACA recipients, the surveyors found the following impact...

  • 91% of them are gainfully employed. 
  • 72% are in higher ed. 
  • After getting DACA, nearly 80 percent got driver's licenses, and about half became organ donors.
  • The U.S. would lose about $460 billion in GDP over the next 10 years without DACA. 
  • Around 700,000 people could lose their jobs.

Recent DACA Announcements