Deferred Action is not US Citizenship

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by President Obama defers deportation of some undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. through no fault on their own, when they were minors. Deferred action status is only a temporary status and does not confer lawful status upon its recipients.

Undocumented youth who apply for deferred action status and who receive this temporary status will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the U.S. DACA recipients are also eligible for employment authorization documents. Deferred action status will be valid for a year and during the period this temporary status is in effect, the recipients can live legally in America and work here. Towards the end of the two year period, they can file applications for renewal of their temporary status.

Undocumented youth, to apply for DACA, must demonstrate that they meet the key criteria for this status set by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Immigrant youth in DACA status can get Social Security numbers and legally work here. But they are not considered legal permanent residents (green card holders) or U.S. citizens. DACA is only a form of prosecutorial discretion and it does not permit its recipients to apply for green cards or for U.S. citizenship. Only the U.S. Congress has the authority to do so.

Some American states permit the DACA recipients to get driver’s licenses, apply for reduced tuition and to apply for other state benefits. Likewise, DACA benefits may not be extended to the family members of the recipients. To receive this temporary status, an undocumented immigrant must meet the specific key criteria for deferred action. Deferred action recipients will not accrue unlawful presence during the two year period but this status may be revoked at any time since it only provides temporary relief from immigration enforcement.