Essential terms for navigating and understanding the debate on U.S. immigration policy.
There are currently 3 terms in this directory beginning with the letter D.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
An immigration policy enacted through executive order by the Obama administration that allows some individuals who are unlawfully in the U.S. to receive a renewable two-year period of “deferred action” from deportation. These individuals are also eligible for work permits. There are several requirements for eligibility. The individual must: be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012 (the date the program was initiated), have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, have unlawful presence in the U.S. before the applicant’s 16th birthday, complete high school or pass a GED exam, and have not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor. The program was repealed by the Trump administration on March 5, 2018 — a development that prompted several lawsuits. In June of 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the repeal of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and that the program could continue to accept renewal applications as well as first time enrollees.
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)
A form of relief from deportation, DED allows certain individuals from designated countries and regions facing political or civil conflict or natural disaster to temporarily stay in the U.S. DED functions much like Temporary Protected Status (TPS) but is administered through the president’s foreign relations power. President Trump moved to end the program, and in March 2019 he issued a memorandum extending the wind-down period for DED through March 30, 2020. However, in early 2021, the incoming Biden administration reinstated the program.
Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act)
Initially proposed in 2001, this legislation has been presented in several iterations over the last two decades. While there are differences in various versions of the bill, each seeks to grant permanent legal residence—sometimes called “a pathway to citizenship”—to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors. In order to be eligible, most versions of the bill require that each potential beneficiary: not be eligible for Temporary Protected Status, have entered the U.S. before adulthood (18 in some versions of the bill; 16 in others), present proof of residency in the U.S. for at least four consecutive years since arrival, be registered in Selective Service (males only), be between the ages of 12 and 35 when the bill is enacted, have a high school diploma or GED, and be of “good moral character.”