Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”)

Posted on Feb 5, 2021 by Jean Louise

DACA is a program instituted in 2012 that allows young undocumented immigrants, who came to America as children in circumstances beyond their control and have lived here since at least 2007 to request consideration for deferred action and receive work authorization and sometimes advance parole for short trips outside the United States. The fee to request DACA is $495 every two years.

The rationale behind DACA is that the recipients are young people who have grown up as Americans, identify themselves as Americans, and many speak only English and have no memory of or connection with the country where they were born. Many did not know they were unauthorized immigrants until they were teenagers—often when they discovered they could not join their peers in getting a driver’s license or filling out financial aid forms for college because they did not have social security numbers.


To be eligible for the DACA program, an applicant:

  • Must be at least 15 years or older at the time of the application (unless currently in removal proceedings)
  • Must not have lawful status and physical presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and on the date of the application
  • Under 31 years old on June 15, 2012
  • Came to the US prior to age 16
  • Continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Must be currently in school; obtained a H.S. diploma or GED; or honorably discharged from the U.S armed forces
  • Must not be convicted of a felony; a significant misdemeanor; or 3 more non-significant misdemeanors; or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

This implies that DACA applicants must provide evidence they were living in the U.S. at the prescribed times. They need to show that they are enrolled in qualifying programs of education and confirm their identities. They also have to pass background, fingerprint, and other biometric checks.

Advance Parole and Work authorization

Approved DACA applicants are eligible for work authorization and advance parole.

Generally, a DACA advance parole will be approved only if it is for humanitarian, educational or employment purposes.

If an advance parole is granted, the DACA recipient must return to the United States before the advance parole and the DACA grant expires.

Final considerations

On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration attempted to end the DACA program. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the Trump Administration’s termination of DACA was arbitrary way and in violation of the law.

Consequently, USCIS is currently receiving new petitions and petitions for extension of the DACA program.

If you believe that you are eligible for relief under DACA, please contact our attorneys for assistance mmutombo@patellegal.comor