What is Deferred Action and who qualifies?

Deferred Action generally refers to an immigration policy that allows the U.S. government to exercise its discretion to postpone the deportation of certain individuals. This discretionary action may be applied on a temporary basis and does not grant permanent legal status or a path to citizenship.

Deferred Action may be implemented for certain groups of people in particular situations, and the criteria may vary depending on the circumstances and government policies. It is not a one-size-fits-all program, but rather a discretionary action that can be applied in different contexts.

Generally speaking, Deferred Action allows certain individuals to avoid deportation temporarily (generally for a period of two years) and, in some cases, may be eligible to receive a work permit during the period of deferred action.

Types of Deferred Action

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a U.S. immigration policy that was implemented by the administration of former President Barack Obama in 2012. DACA provides temporary relief to certain undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and who meet certain other requirements.

What are the benefits of DACA?

DACA recipients receive protection from deportation and have the ability to obtain a renewable work permit every two years. In addition, DACA allows them to access certain benefits, such as the ability to obtain a driver’s license in some states.

What are the disadvantages of DACA?

On the other hand, a major disadvantage of DACA is that it does not grant permanent immigration status or a path to citizenship. It is intended to provide a temporary solution for those who came to the United States as children and have built their lives in the country, but not to ensure permanent residency. Like all types of Deferred Action, it was a circumstantial immigration tool that the Obama administration deemed important during a specific time.

This has caused the status of DACA to be the subject of political and judicial debate, and its continuation and possible changes have been important issues in the discussion about immigration policy in the United States. Today, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is in a dangerous legal limbo, from which the 600,000 dreamers hope to soon benefit.

DACA eligibility requirements

  • Arrival in the United States before the age of 16.
  • Continuous residence in the United States from June 15, 2007 to the present date.
  • Present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time of filing your DACA application.
  • Be in school, have completed high school, or possess a General Education Completion Certificate (GED).
  • Not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Deferred Action for Workers

As of January 13, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented Deferred Action for Non-Citizen Workers who were victims or witnesses of labor abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The objective of this Deferred Action has humanitarian purposes, and is to protect those migrants in a complex legal situation that makes them very vulnerable and powerless in the face of immoral labor injustices by their employers, who often take advantage of this situation. The idea of DHS is to encourage workers to assert their rights and denounce abuses of power by their employers.

Eligibility Requirements for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


Those workers who are eligible for Deferred Action for Workers are those who were victims or witnesses of abuse by an employer. This includes:

  • Wage violations such as non-payment or underpayment.
  • Unjustified changes or abuses in work schedules.
  • Safety violations in which the employer subjected the employee to unsafe activities or without prior training.
  • Threats.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Discrimination based on race or immigration status.
  • Denial of protected or safe work leave.
  • Other cases of abuse in the workplace.

What does humanitarian deferred action mean?

That deferred action is a humanitarian tool means that the government presents it as an option for migrants who do not have legal status and who have a serious medical condition, an extended stay in the United States and/or close family ties.

It is humanitarian because it allows migrants to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a pause in their deportation for discretionary humanitarian reasons. The goal of deferred action then is to somewhat humanize the immigration system.

Final Words

In summary, Deferred Action for Immigration is an extremely valuable tool for those who seek stability and opportunity in the United States and have humanitarian reasons for applying.

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