Since it began in 2012, more than 700,000 “Dreamers” have participated in DACA. This important program has helped many of those who came to the country as children to pursue their educational and career dreams.
Unfortunately, while the policy offers some protection against deportation, there is still no clear path to citizenship for dreamers, and there is no guarantee that the program will continue under the current or future presidencies. That makes it essential for Colorado individuals and their families to understand how DACA works and stay up to date on changes to the program.
Can immigrants still apply for DACA status?
Unfortunately, in September 2017, the current administration sought to end the DACA program, and the DHS has since stopped accepting new applications. However, so far, those who have already received DACA status may renew it, and they must do so every two years.
When the policy first began, those who applied had to meet certain requirements. Among other items, those deemed eligible at the time must have:
- Come to the U.S. before age 16
- Been younger than 31 as of June 15, 2012
- Lived only in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- Been attending school, received a high school diploma/GED or enrolled in the military
- Not had a felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
Those who need to renew their application must be able to show that they meet the original 2012 guidelines.
What protections does DACA offer?
DACA policy instructs agencies like ICE and CPB to consider dreamers low-risk and of the lowest priority when pursuing enforcement. However, while DACA offers Dreamers some assurance that their illegal status will not lead to deportation, it does not make them legal citizens, nor does it lead to eventual citizenship.
What is the status of DACA?
The future of DACA remains uncertain. Last November, the Supreme Court took up a case that could decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families, including 15,000 Dreamers in Colorado. The court expects to issue a ruling sometime in the spring of 2020 on whether the program will continue.