DACA Resource Center
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protects eligible undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents when they were children. DACA provides employment authorization (work permit) and protection from deportation for a renewable two-year period. Although the Trump administration attempted to rescind the DACA program in 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States blocked that effort in June 2020. Individuals with a previous grant of DACA may continue to renew. Maintaining DACA status may be critical if there is ever a path to legal status.
In July 2020, the administration signaled that it is continuing to push for an end to DACA. The Department of Homeland Security issued a memo that put further restraints on the DACA program, saying that it would:
- Reject all initial DACA requests (no first-time applications)
- Limit DACA grants and associated employment authorization to one-year periods (reduced from two years)
- Reject all advance parole requests based on DACA, absent exceptional circumstances
paths to legal status
The uncertain future for DACA is forcing everyone to reconsider other possible paths to a legal status within the United States. In some cases, individuals have an available path to a green card and don’t even realize it.
Are you married to a U.S. citizen? Has any family relative ever filed an immigration petition on your behalf? Have you ever been a victim of a crime or domestic violence? All of these questions are very important because they may lay a foundation for immigration alternatives aside from DACA. Marriage, employment, asylum status and the U visa are just a few of the possibilities. It’s important that anyone with an undocumented status understands their options. Contact an immigration attorney or other legal service provider to analyze your situation.
A Future for Dreamers
Bipartisan Dreamer legislation was first introduced in 2001 but has struggled to get passage in Congress through its many iterations. The DREAM Act is a proposal for certain undocumented immigrants in the United States that would grant lawful permanent residence (green card).
Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are urging Congress to act quickly to pass a version of the DREAM Act. The most recent version of the DREAM Act, introduced in July, would offer lawful permanent residence — and eventually a pathway to U.S. citizenship — to young immigrants if they arrived in the U.S. as children, obtained a high school degree or GED, and are enrolled in higher education, employed, or serve in the military.
The DREAM Act would allow these young people to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually U.S. citizenship if they:
- Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
- Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
- Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
- Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
- Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
Replace a DACA Card
Losing your work permit does not mean that you’ve lost your DACA status. Officially known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), your work permit is physical proof of your right to live and work in the United States.
If your work permit was lost or stolen, you’ll need to replace it as soon as possible. DACA status continues to be valid until it expires.