The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is no substitute for immigration reform, but it’s helped many undocumented immigrants in the United States access opportunities and stay deportation through two-year visas.

To qualify, immigrants must be between the ages of 15 and 30, have arrived illegally when they were children. Additionally they must either be in school, have graduated high school or earned their GED, or be military veterans. Also, they must not have been convicted of any serious crimes such as violence, drunk driving, or drug-related offenses, or at least three misdemeanors. The Immigration Policy Center estimated that around 950,000 immigrants across the country qualified for this program.

The program was created by President Obama in June of 2012. Since then, over 565,000 young undocumented immigrants in the United States have received two-year visas. However, this is not a permanent solution because the program is only in effect at the discretion of the president, and this current administration is on its last leg. There is no guarantee the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will survive past this presidency.

A more permanent solution on the national level passed in the Senate in June of 2013 and is currently stalled on the House floor. It would provide avenues to citizenship for the roughly 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country, but it would also double the size of Border Patrol and enhance surveillance technology on the 2,000-mile Mexican border.

On the state and local levels, some states have granted access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and do not require social security numbers on state university and college applications. These are life-changing provisions, opening up opportunities for mobility, education, and an all around expanded life.

Source: Krogstad, Jens Manuel. “Temporary visa opens up world for young immigrant,” USA Today. September 24th, 2013.


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