DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. An initiative created in 2012 by Obama. He decided to create this program for those undocumented children currently residing in the United States illegally, under no fault of their own. In order to qualify however, there are certain procedures an individual must undergo beforehand. Congress has six months to determine what’ll happen to the 800,000 people who are currently protected by DACA. I have chosen a couple of sources to summarize and find some information about DACA.
Source 2: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3060d4z3#page-3 – here you can find some very informative statistics.
To qualify for the DACA program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Have arrived in the United States prior to age 16.
- Have continuously resided in the United States without legal status since June 15, 2007.
- Be less than age 31 as of June 15, 2012 and at least age 15 at application (unauthorized immigrants under 15 but in removal proceedings are also eligible to apply)
- Be currently enrolled in school, have graduated high school or obtained a general
development certificate (GED), or be an honorably discharged veteran.
- Have not been convicted of a felony or multiple or serious misdemeanors and not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Source: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Some reasons for obtaining DACA:
- Finishing High School and deciding the next step may prompt more individuals to apply for DACA in order to gain in-state tuition for college/university.
- Younger individuals want to apply sooner because they can prove that they have been living continuously in their parents homes since 2007 and have a permanent address.
- Obtaining a driver license – which is allowable in 45 states.
- “DACA applicants should go back to their country”
- Actually, while most of the applicants are from Mexico, many are also from 192 different countries. Furthermore, these undocumented children are ones who came into the country at an age that does not allow them to remember anything about the country they came from.
- “Why can’t they just apply for citizenship?”
- DACA gives them the right to work and attend school/higher education. However, it does not grant them a path to citizenship. In order to gain citizenship, these individuals as well as others who want to be a citizen in the United States must apply for Permanent Residency (A green card) first. Only after five years of having a green card can an individual then apply for citizenship. But these individuals must first have obtained a visa to legally enter the country. Therefore, DACA is not a visa that is the starting point to obtaining permanent residency, then citizenship.
- “What can happen under DACA?”
- DACA can actually be revoked at any point in time the government sees fit.
- It requires individuals to reapply every two years, but can also be applied for the first time at any point throughout the year.
- It does not offer a path to permanent residency or citizenship.
- One must obtain proof of when they entered into the country and how long they have been residing in it.
- “Do we qualify for Federal Medicaid?”
- No, unfortunately young immigrants with DACA do not qualify for it.
Ways to help and #defendDACA –
- Directly texting your state representative: A company called Resistbot has made it so easy to do that. All you have to do is text Resist to 50409. From there, Resistbot will ask you for your address and then tell you who your representatives are. After that, you just text “fax” and Resistbot asks you what you want to say to them.
- Contacting Senators: Senators
- Contacting Congress: Congress
Take to social media and express your outrage, the unfairness and the cruelty with trying to end this program. Show that this program matters to everyone in the United States. Have some compassion for the individuals that were brought into a country without their consent simply to lead a better life. These children are at no fault for the actions of their parents. Ask yourself, how far would your parents go to ensure you had a better life?
Thank you and please feel free to share, comment, discuss more ways to help. I can revise this post as well to add more information/correct anything so please do not hesitate to reach out.