Three Faces of DACA

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 Last year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA emerged as a long-awaited saving grace for undocumented youth or so-called DREAMers who were brought to the United States as children or teenagers. When DACA went into effect last August it offered them a temporary reprieve from deportation, authorization to work and the ability to get a temporary social security card and drivers license.

But a year into it, the program is starting to show weaknesses. And since immigration reform will almost certainly not pass this year, it’s possible the earliest recipients of DACA could time out of the two-year program before a more permanent solution is in place.

Immigration attorneys say that the number of DACA applications have stalled in recent months, suggesting that the initial flurry of applications and approvals was temporary. Perhaps more significant, in some cases DACA is not accomplishing its primary goal—to suspend deportation and provide job opportunities for undocumented youth—because many DREAMers find the application cost and the strict requirements prohibitive. In order to qualify for DACA you must be 30 or younger; have arrived in the U.S. before age 16 and resided here continuously since 2007; have a clean criminal record; and have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.

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