The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, otherwise known as DACA, was announced by President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012. The executive action granted qualifying illegal aliens a postponement of any potential immigration action and a 2-year renewable court date. To date, more than 793,000 illegal aliens have received a temporary amnesty through the program.
In order to qualify for the amnesty, illegal aliens had to meet the following conditions:
- entered the U.S. under the age of 16,
- be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012,
- maintained continuous presence in the U.S. since June 15, 2007,
- be enrolled in high school or have graduated from high school or hold a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the military, and
- have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or 3 or more misdemeanors occurring on separate dates from separate acts and does not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
In November 2014, President Obama announced that was extending the period of the amnesty from 2-3 years. Led by the state of Texas, 26 states sued the Obama administration over the costs that would be incurred on the states for the expanded DACA program and the newly created Deferred Action for Parents of Americans executive amnesty. Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen paused both DAPA and the DACA extension. His decision was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and affirmed by the Supreme Court.
In June 2017, Texas and nine other states threatened to challenge the DACA amnesty unless President Donald Trump ended the program by September 5, 2017. On September 5, Pres. Trump announced that he was rejecting all initial requests for DACA filed after September 5th, and announced that DACA renewals would only be processed if filed prior to October 5, 2017. Further, he authorized DACA recipients with benefit expiration dates prior to March 5, 2018, to also file for renewal prior to the October deadline.