Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was originally announced in June 2012. The executive order allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and meet specific criteria to apply for deferred action for two year renewable periods. Deferred action is a decision from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that classifies a person as being low priority for removal action (deportation). Additionally, DACA allows qualified individuals to apply for an employment authorization document and advance parole (the ability to leave the U.S. temporarily and return).
On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a plan to expand the original executive order. The new initiative was to expand the population eligible for DACA and lengthen the period of deferred action from two to three years. The expansion would also extend deferred action eligibility to a new group – parents of U.S. citizens and lawful residents who meet specific criteria (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Residents, or, DAPA).
Expanded DACA and DAPA have not gone into effect because a lawsuit led by the state of Texas. On November 9, 2015 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction that has prevented implementation of the executive order. The following day, the Obama Administration announced that it would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. It is possible that the case may be accepted by the Supreme Court in spring 2016.
In the meantime, those who meet the original eligibility criteria set by the 2012 executive order are still eligible to apply for or renew DACA. Individuals who may be eligible under expanded DACA or DAPA are encouraged to continue collecting and preparing the required documentation. Preparing documents for expanded DACA or DAPA applications would ensure that eligible individuals are ready to apply in case of a favorable decision from the Supreme Court.
More information about expanded DACA and DAPA eligibility can be found on the USCIS website.