Adopted in 2012, President Obama announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would begin accepting requests for consideration for deferred action. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows certain young people brought to the United States as children to apply for two-year work permits and exemptions from deportation.
In 2014, President Obama announced an expansion of the DACA program and enact the program Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). DAPA would offer legal reprieve to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens, as well as to permanent residents who have lived in the United States for at least five years, removing the constant fear of deportation under which many currently live.
On February 16, 2015, a federal court in Texas blocked DAPA and the expansion of DACA. Those who qualify for under the original DACA, may still apply.
UPDATE: On June 23, 2016, there was a 4-4 split decision in United States v. Texas, with the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the question of whether President Obama’s use of executive action to suspend deportations and grant work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants was constitutional. The deadlock lets stand an order by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the actions, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), from taking effect. While this decision is a temporary setback, the original DACA program, launched in 2012, is still available and is NOT affected by the Supreme Court decision.
For more information on DACA, please visit our resources.