The original program, a 2012 policy announced by President Barack Obama and established by a memorandum by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, included the requirements that applicants:
(Source: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, 2012 - ARCHIVED; see link below)
DACA recipients are not considered citizens, nor is DACA a path to citizenship. It is policy of deferred action from deportation. Recipients must reapply every two years, and are eligible for work permits.
The original 2012 policy was expanded by President Obama in 2014, including a new program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). In June 2017, the administration of President Donald Trump, through statements by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, announced the intention to rescind that expansion and to phase out DACA entirely, while giving Congress time to pass a bill reforming current immigration law to allow children who came to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant a clearer path to citizenship. At the present moment (August 7, 2018), the program is still in existence and applications for renewal are possible, though new applications are not being accepted. This will likely change by the end of August, pending a number of court cases.
News and magazine articles about the DACA program. Log in using your myStevens username and password to read if you are off campus.
The DREAM Act was meant to amend the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act to make "alien minors" eligible for higher education benefits and to give the legal status of permanent resident to those who met the following criteria:
"(1) has attained the age of 12 prior to enactment of this Act;
(2) files an application before reaching the age of 21;
(3) has earned a high school or equivalent diploma;
(4) has been physically present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding the date of enactment of this Act (with certain exceptions);
(5) is a person of good moral character; and
(6) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified criminal or security grounds of the Immigration and Nationality Act." (S. 1291, 2001, see link below)
The term "Dreamer" has come to refer to people brought to the country as undocumented minors whose legal status would be affected by the change in immigration policy.
The DACA program was intended to offer some legal protection to the Dreamers while immigration law changes were being hammered out in Congress. President Donald Trump in September 2017 announced plans to eventually fully rescind the DACA program while encouraging Congress to pass a bill. As of June 2018, no resolution has yet been established.