Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a U. S. immigration policy that allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit, temporary resident status, and exemption from deportation.
The young people who qualify for deferred action are commonly referred to as “DREAMers” because they comprise most of the individuals who meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, the DREAM Act amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and repeals the denial of undocumented youth’s eligibility for higher education benefits.
DACA only applies to individuals who entered the U.S. as children. Young people must meet several requirements in order to qualify for DACA status. These requirements include entering the country when they were under 16 years old, proving they have continuously lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years and graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a GED, and that they have not committed any crimes. After six years, individuals may seek permanent citizenship if they meet additional requirements such as, they must have attended college or served in the U.S. military for at least 2 years, and pass criminal background checks. If DREAMers are unable to fulfill these requirements, they will lose their legal status and be subject to deportation.
For general information about DACA, visit this USCIS.gov page.
For information on applying for DREAMer status, you can visit this USCIS.gov page.