Certain undocumented individuals who entered before the age of 16 as children are eligible to obtain work authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, if they meet the following minimum requirements:
- Entered the United States before the age of 16
- Were physically present from June 2007 to June 2012 and until the present
- Are presently enrolled in school to obtain a high school diploma or have graduated with a high school diploma or have the equivalent (GED)
- Do not have any significant misdemeanor or felony convictions (or more than two misdemeanors)
This program is not authorized by law specifically. Instead, presidents have the authority to decide who or who not to deport, in efforts to efficiently use limited resources and money allocated by Congress. Individuals who are deportable can be authorized to work in the United States by law, and their status will be “deferred action” from being deported. Being approved for DACA does not mean the individual has legal status.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump stated that he would end this program. However, his executive orders on immigration while in office have not revoked this program. If the program is revoked, the President MAY authorize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to initiate removal proceedings against these individuals.
It is critical to understand what your options are in consultation with an attorney before proceeding to apply for DACA or to renew DACA.