What Is DACA?

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that, under its administrative authority, it would grant deferred action to immigrant youth residing in the U.S. who meet specific criteria. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy permits people who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and who meet other age, education, continuous presence, and criminal history–related requirements to remain in the U.S. for a renewable two-year period and to apply for work authorization.

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that his administration would expand the criteria for the grant of DACA and establish DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents), making approximately five million people eligible for deferred action. However, Texas and 25 other states filed suit against the federal government and blocked DAPA and expanded DACA, preventing the policies from going forward. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court’s, which issued a 4-4 split (non) decision in United States v. Texas on June 23rd, 2016.

Nonetheless, the original 2012 DACA program continues to be available to approximately 1,932,000 individuals nationally and is not affected by the Supreme Court decision. Eligible undocumented immigrants can continue to apply for and renew DACA in order to access its many benefits, including a temporary reprieve from deportation, access to a work permit, and a social security number.

California alone is home to over 30% of those who are immediately eligible for DACA and have not yet applied, along with a significant number of those who would be eligible if they were entered into a qualifying education program.

DACA-Eligible Persons in the United States & California

Geographic AreaTotal EligibleImmediately EligibleImmediately Eligible + Eligible but for EducationApplication Accepted by USCISApplication Reate as % of Immediately EligibleRemaining Immediately Eligible to Apply
United States1,932,0001,307,0001,705,000820,00063487,000
California579,000379,000499,000231,00061148,000

DACA-Eligible Persons by California County (Over 10,000 Total Eligible)

CountyTotal EligibleImmediately EligibleEligible but for EducationEligible in the Future
Los Angeles180,000123,00040,00017,000
Orange54,00037,00010,0007,000
San Diego38,00027,0007,0005,000
Riverside31,00022,0006,0003,000
San Bernardino28,00019,0006,0003,000
Santa Clara23,00015,0005,0002,000
Fresno18,00011,0005,0002,000
Alameda17,00012,0003,0002,000
Kern15,0009,0004,0002,000
Monterey - San Benito15,0009,0004,0002,000
Sacramento13,0008,0003,0002,000
Contra Costa12,0008,0003,0002,000
Ventura12,0007,0004,0002,000
Tulare11,0007,0003,0001,000
San Joaquin11,0007,0002,0002,000

* Based on the Migration Policy Institute’s estimates of the DACA eligible population as of August 2016