Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

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    Syllabus: GS 2/Polity and Governance

    News

    • A policy that allowed young undocumented immigrants to live and work in the United States, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), has been declared illegal by a US court.

    What is DACA?

    • In 2012, the US Secretary of Homeland Security announced that upon meeting certain requirements, people who came to the United States as children illegally can request deferment or delay in legal action against them for a period of two years, subject to renewal.
    • The move was to make immigration policy of the USA  to be more fair, more efficient, and more just – specifically for certain young people sometimes called Dreamers.
    • Dreamers derives from the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) bill, which aims to make permanent legal residency possible for undocumented immigrants to the US.

    Criteria to Qualify for DACA

    • The government agency US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lists certain criteria for qualifying for DACA.These are:
      • The person must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, 
      • They should have come to the United States before their 16th birthday, 
      • They should have certain educational qualifications, not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor and 
      • Do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
    • According to the USCIS, such people are then eligible to request work authorization and legally hold a job. It described deferred action as an exercise of “prosecutorial discretion”, to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

    Need for DACA

    • It is often argued that the Dreamers were brought to the USA  by their parents – sometimes even as infants – and often have no idea that they’re undocumented.Hence such people deserved a deferment against punishment or deportation.
    • Since 2012 hundreds of thousands of people have been given DACA permits from countries in Central and South America. Approximately 2,40,000 undocumented Indians were living in the US in 2011, making India the seventh-highest country of origin for undocumented individuals in the United States. Only a few thousand Indians have made use of DACA permits.

    Source: IE