National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals | Background


The New Deferred Action Program: Strategies for Success

In this Migration Policy Institute event, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discusses the “deferred action for childhood arrivals” (DACA) request process and policies that USCIS has announced to implement DACA. A panel of experts on immigration matters responds to the director’s comments in a moderated conversation. One panel member is Marielena Hincapié, NILC’s executive director.

Memo from DHS Secretary

Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children
(June 15, 2012, PDF)

“By this memorandum, I am setting forth how, in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, the Department of Homeland Security should enforce the Nation’s immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home.”

Letters of Support & Responses

Law professors explain how the president has authority to grant relief “to potential DREAM Act beneficiaries as a group” (May 28, 2012, PDF)

This letter to President Obama, signed by about 100 of the U.S.’s top immigration law scholars, explains the administration’s authority to grant relief to DREAM Act–eligible youth “as a group.” The letter highlights how the administration may use deferred action, parole-in-place, or deferred enforced departure (DED) to grant administrative relief from deportation to potential beneficiaries of the proposed DREAM Act.

Letter to President Obama from 22 U.S. senators supporting deferred action for DREAMers (April 13, 2011, PDF)

"We would support a grant of deferred action to all young people who meet the rigorous requirements necessary to be eligible for cancellation of removal or a stay of removal under the DREAM Act, as requested on a bipartisan basis by Senators Durbin and Lugar last April. We strongly believe that DREAM Act students should not be removed from the United States, because they have great potential to contribute to our country . . .
     "We would also support steps short of this that you can take to establish a more orderly and consistent process for handling individual DREAM Act cases."

Letter from DHS secretary Janet Napolitano in response to the letter from 22 senators (Aug. 18, 2011, PDF)

"Together with [DOJ], we have initiated an interagency working group to execute a case-by-case review of all individuals currently in removal proceedings to ensure that they constitute our highest priorities. The working group will also initiate a case-by-case review to ensure that new cases placed in removal proceedings similarly meet such priorities. In addition, the working group will issue guidance on how to provide for appropriate discretionary consideration to be given to compelling cases involving a final order of removal."

Durbin Lauds Obama Administration Announcement on
DREAM Act Deportation Cases
(Aug. 18, 2011)

Senator Durbin's response to Sec. Napolitano's letter of Aug. 18, 2011. Sen. Durbin (D-IL & assistant Senate majority leader) is a primary author and champion of the DREAM Act.