DACA was announced on June 15, 2012, and was created by an executive action in response to the legislature’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has provided temporary immigration relief to nearly 800,000 DREAMers. 

DACA was not a path to US citizenship, but rather provided the applicant a two-year period of work authorization, which was renewable while the program existed.

To be eligible for DACA individuals had to meet the following criteria:

Must have entered the U.S. before age sixteen and have been born after June 15, 1981;

  • Must have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007;
  • Physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing an application under DACA;
  • May not have had lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012; (Any lawful immigration status or parole obtained prior to June 15, 2012, must have expired before June 15, 2012.);
  • Must 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 DACA application is submitted;
  • Must possess good moral character in that they
    • Have not been convicted of a felony offense;
    • Have not been convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” offense or of three or more misdemeanor offenses;
    • Must not pose a threat to national security or public safety; and 
    • Must pass a background check.

On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration rescinded DACA.  Effective September 5, 2017, the following occurred:

  • All pending DACA applications (received prior to September 5, 2017) will continue to be processed;
  • Any new applications for DACA received by USCIS after September 5, 2017, will be rejected;
  • Individuals with approved DACA applications will maintain their status until their period of deferred action expires;
  • Only individuals whose DACA expires between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, may renew their status, BUT all applications must be received by October 5, 2017.

Congressional representatives from both political parties have introduced legislation that would provide relief to certain undocumented people who came to the U.S. as minors. To go into effect, these bills must first pass Congress and be signed by the President. Then the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) would be charged with implementing their provisions (creating application forms, etc.).  If legislation is not passed, all DACA recipients face deportation once their period of deferred action expires. Below are five pieces of legislation being considered by Congress to address the end of the DACA program. The HNBA will continue to monitor this issue and communicate any new developments.

BRIDGE Act (HR 496) 

  • Sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
  • Co-sponsored by 25 representatives (13 Democrats and 12 Republicans)
  • No path to US citizenship
  • Applicants would receive provisional protected presence (PPP) for at most three years

Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act (HR 1468)

  • Sponsored by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
  • Cosponsored by 18 representatives (0 Democrats and 18 Republicans)
  • Path to citizenship that is dependent on education or employment history (approximately a 10-year process)
  • Must have entered the US before age 16.
  • Must have lived continuously in the US since January 1, 2012
  • Physically present in the US on January 1, 2012
  • Must been enrolled in higher education, have earned high school diploma, or have a valid work authorization
  • Must meet the moral character standard defined in INA § 101(f) and pass a background check

2017 DREAM Act (S 1615 & HR 3440)

S 1615

  • Sponsored by Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL)
  • Co-sponsored by Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

HR 3440

  • Sponsored by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
  • Co-sponsored by Reps. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Mike Coffman (R-CO)
  • Pathway to citizenship (approximately a 13-year process)
  • Must have entered the US before age 18
  • Must be continuously physically present in the US for at least 4 years before the date of the bill’s enactment
  • Must have been enrolled in higher education, have earned high school diploma, or be enrolled in a secondary school to earn GED
  • Has not been convicted of certain crimes and must pass a background check

Hope Act (HR3591)

  • Sponsored by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
  • Co-sponsored by 116 Democrats
  • Must have entered the US before age 18
  • Must have been continuously present in the US since December 31, 2016
  • No educational requirement
  • Has not been convicted of certain crimes and must pass a background check
  • Pathway to citizenship (approximately a 5-year process)

SUCCEED Act (S. 1852)

  • Sponsored by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
  • Co-sponsored by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
  • Must have entered the US before age 16 and have been continuously present in the US since June 15, 2012
  • Must have earned a high school diploma or an equivalent; have been admitted to an institution of higher education (education track); or have served, be serving or have enlisted in the U.S. military (military track); and
  • Must pass several government background checks; demonstrate “good moral character” with no felonies, significant misdemeanors or multiple convictions that resulted in imprisonment for at least one year
  • Must sign a conditional departure order relinquishing nearly all forms of immigration relief if they violate the terms of their status 
  • Pathway to permanent resident status (approximately a 10-year process); eligible for naturalization (citizenship) after a 5 year waiting period as a permanent resident.