When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008, one of the biggest conveniences for many immigrants was Obama’s promise to reform America’s immigration system. Although it can be argued that Mr. Obama did not make a big enough impact on the immigration system to be praised for, he did however establish a life-changing immigration policy during his fourth year in the White House. This policy is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA has made an immense improvement on the lives of thousands of young immigrants residing in the United States. Nowadays, there is much controversy going on surrounding the future of this policy. President Donald Trump has continuously expressed his disapproval for this policy, and this has led to many questions as to what may happen next.
What exactly is DACA?
DACA is an immigration policy that was enacted by the Obama Administration in June of 2012. This policy provides protection from deportation for young immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. It also allows these people to be lawfully present in the United States and grants them eligibility for legal work authorization and the ability to apply for a driver’s license (O’Boyle, Harper, 2018). There are various eligibility requirements that applicants must meet to apply for DACA. To apply and be granted this benefit, applicants must be at least 15 years old at the time of their application and must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012. Prospective applicants also must be residing in the United States and have lived here since June 15, 2007. There are also educational requirements that prospective applicants must meet. They must be in school at the time of the application or have received a high school diploma or GED Felons and other individuals who have been convicted of a serious misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors are not eligible for DACA. (O’Boyle, Harper, 2018). Overall, applicants must be in good standing with law enforcement within the United States.
Who needs DACA and why?
There are roughly 800,000 DACA recipients across the United States. Those in need of DACA are people who were brought to America as young children and maybe undocumented. Many of them are children of parents who came to the United States illegally and brought their children with them or came on a visa and have overstayed. Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of all DACA recipients are originally citizens from Mexico. About 90 percent of DACA applicants are approved, with only about 10 percent of them being rejected, terminated, or withdrawn (O’Boyle, Harper, 2018). DACA has been very successful at approving applicants and granting them this special policy to prosper.
These DACA applicants are in great need of this program because, for most of them, the United States is all they know. They have lived in America for most of their lives and probably have no memory of their origin country. Many of them arrived in the U.S. as infants and have grown up here for their entire lives so they consider it their home. They may even personally identify as more American despite what their birth certificate says.