But the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, now applies not only to those who were brought to this country illegally by their also illegal parents. It states that those who crossed illegally on their own as children may also be eligible, because they are not “making an adult choice to break our laws.”
“Despite the acrimony and partisanship that now exists in Washington, almost all of us agree that a child who crossed our border illegally with a parent, or in search of a parent or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws, and should be treated differently than adult law-breakers,” Johnson said in the press release announcement.
“By the renewal of DACA, we act in accord with our values and the code of this great Nation,” he added.
The initial memorandum issued by then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said that “children” are those who entered the country illegally “under the age of sixteen.”
Johnson’s announcement said those seeking legal status through DACA must meet the requirements of the initial memorandum issued June 15, 2012 – entered the U.S. under the age of 16; been in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years before the memorandum was issued; are a student, hold a General Educational Development (GED) diploma or an honorably discharged member of the military; and have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
But the new announcement adds other requirements, including specifying that the individual can have three misdemeanors convictions before they are ineligible.
- Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since they submitted their most recent DACA request that was approved; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
The announcement further stated that fingerprinting and a photo ID are required, as well as a $465 administrative fee.
The announcement notes that as of April 2014, 560,000 people have been approved for DACA. Those numbers are likely to grow with DHS expanding the program to cover youth who entered the U.S. illegally without a parent.