Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Recent news has brought the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into the spotlight as it faces legal challenges in the United States. This program has been instrumental in providing relief to young undocumented immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” who aspire to live and work in the United States.

This topic of “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

What is DACA?

Policy for Young Undocumented Immigrants

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a policy that offers young undocumented immigrants in the United States the opportunity to live and work in the country without the constant fear of deportation.

Why was DACA Established?

Mend US Immigration Policy

DACA was created to address shortcomings in the U.S. immigration policy, aiming for a more fair, efficient, and just approach. Specifically, it was designed to provide relief to “Dreamers,” a term derived from the DREAM Act, which proposed granting permanent legal residency to undocumented immigrants but never passed in the U.S. legislature. When it became evident that legislative action was unlikely, President Barack Obama introduced DACA in 2012 as an executive order.

How Does DACA Work?

Requesting Deferment or Delay

Individuals seeking DACA protection must meet specific eligibility requirements, including:

  • Being under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
  • Arrival in the United States before their 16th birthday.
  • Meeting certain educational qualifications.
  • No convictions for felonies or significant misdemeanors.
  • No threat to national security or public safety.

Eligibility for Work Authorization

DACA provides eligible recipients with work authorization, allowing them to pursue employment in the United States. It is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, meaning it defers removal action against these individuals but does not confer lawful immigration status.

When Did DACA Begin?

Inception in 2012

The DACA program was initiated in 2012 when President Barack Obama took executive action to address the plight of young undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

Key Facts and Figures

  • South Asians, including Indians, hold approximately 4,000 DACA permits, highlighting the program’s diversity and its impact on various immigrant communities.
  • In 2011, there were an estimated 240,000 undocumented Indians living in the United States, making India the seventh-highest origin country for undocumented individuals in the U.S.
  • Despite the significant Indian population in the United States, only a few thousand Indians utilized DACA permits, underscoring the complexities and challenges of the immigration system.

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