DACA: Eligibility, Benefits, & Updates for Dreamers in 2023
Since its establishment in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has empowered over 900,000 immigrants (commonly referred to as “Dreamers”) to remain in the U.S., get an education, obtain fulfilling careers, and become contributing members of American society.
Whether you’re an aspiring Dreamer hoping to enroll in DACA, wanting to know more about potential updates to the program in 2023, or hoping to learn more about eligibility requirements to help a friend or loved one, our compassionate advocates have the specialized knowledge of U.S. immigration laws to help you accomplish your goals.
Keep reading to learn more about the DACA program, including eligibility, benefits, 2023 updates, and more.
What Is the DACA Program?
The DACA program was first implemented in 2012 by the Obama Administration. It was instated with the purpose of preventing the deportation of qualifying young adults who arrived in the U.S. as children, allowing them to work for a limited time with the possibility of renewal.
Who Is Eligible for DACA?
The DACA program can be an appealing option for many immigrants. According to USCIS, the program’s approval rate was approximately 78% between 2015 and 2019, with 74% of Americans stating their support of granting permanent legal status to those who arrived in the U.S. unlawfully as children.
While there are various benefits of becoming a “Dreamer” by enrolling in DACA, the program isn’t available to everyone. Noncitizens must specific certain requirements to be eligible for the DACA program, including:
- Age Requirement – Eligible applicants must have been born after June 15, 1981, and have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
- Continuous Residence – To be eligible, immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday and have continuously resided in the country since June 15, 2007.
- Physical Presence – Aspiring Dreamers applying for the DACA program must have been physically present in the United States from June 15, 2012, until their time of application.
- Educational or Military Criteria – Eligible candidates must be enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard.
- No Significant Criminal Record – To be admitted to the DACA program, immigrants must not have any prior felonies, significant misdemeanors, or three or more misdemeanors on their criminal record. Additionally, eligible applicants cannot pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Benefits of the DACA Program
Since its initiation, the DACA program has successfully helped almost one million immigrants remain in the U.S. to pursue an education and/or join the U.S. workforce as contributing members of American society. There are numerous benefits to becoming a Dreamer, such as:
- Protection from deportation or removal – Approved DACA recipients receive temporary relief from deportation for a period of two years, subject to renewal.
- Employment authorization – DACA offers eligible individuals the opportunity to apply for work permits, allowing them to seek employment and pursue career opportunities.
- The ability to apply for a social security number (SSN) – Approved DACA recipients are eligible to apply for a Social Security number, enabling them to establish credit, apply for driver's licenses, and access certain benefits.
- The ability to earn a driver’s license – In most states, DACA recipients are eligible to obtain driver's licenses or state identification cards.
- Access to U.S. education – DACA allows Dreamers to pursue educational opportunities, including college or vocational programs, often with eligibility for in-state tuition rates.
2023 Updates to the DACA Program
While the DACA program is currently still in effect, there’s a chance that ongoing legal challenges will result in important changes to DACA as we progress further into 2023, making it all the more crucial for immigrants and their loved ones to stay up-to-date on the latest news.
Here are some important recent updates for Dreamers to be aware of in 2023:
- Program Status – The DACA program has faced several legal challenges in recent years. The good news is that as of 2023, DACA remains in place, as numerous court decisions have upheld its continuation. However, this doesn’t mean that new changes won’t be implemented in the near future, which is why it’s imperative for Dreamers to stay up-to-date on legal developments pertaining to DACA eligibility and requirements.
- DACA Renewals – If you are currently a DACA recipient, it is crucial to ensure you apply for timely renewals. DACA grants protection and work authorization for a two-year period, and it is essential to submit your renewal application before your current DACA status expires. Be mindful of any changes in renewal requirements or procedures and consult with an immigration attorney for guidance.
- DACA Applications – As of 2023, individuals who have not previously applied for DACA may not be allowed to submit new applications. Regardless, it’s important to monitor the latest developments, especially as court rulings and potential legislative actions go into effect to alter this policy.
- Travel on Advance Parole – Previously, DACA recipients were allowed to apply for Advance Parole, which allowed them to travel outside the U.S. for specific reasons (e.g. education, employment, or humanitarian purposes). However, the current status of Advance Parole for DACA recipients is uncertain, making it vital for Dreamers to consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney before making any travel plans at this time.
- Legislative Efforts – In recent years, there have been ongoing discussions and proposed legislation to provide a permanent solution for Dreamers. While several bills have been introduced as of 2023, no comprehensive immigration legislation has been signed into law at this time. It’s important to stay connected with trusted representatives and advocacy groups to learn about new updates or other key information regarding potential legislative changes to the DACA program.
Trusted Advocacy for Immigrants in Miami & Beyond
Since 2014, our compassionate advocates at Hubbs Law, P.A. have been committed to bettering the lives of immigrants and their families in Miami and beyond. From airport detainments to family-based petitions, our firm has a successful track record representing noncitizens and their loved ones in a variety of immigration matters. Reach out to our office to learn how we can help you resolve the immigration dispute you’re facing.
U.S. immigration can be costly and time-consuming. Choose the right advocate to have in your corner. Call (305) 570-4802 to schedule a free consultation.