Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Place a Bet or Wait on a DREAM

40 S.U.L. Rev. 293

27 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2013 Last revised: 26 Sep 2013

Date Written: December 19, 2012


As students, we look forward to graduation and the day we will begin our careers — the day we begin applying our education to life. However, for an estimated 1.8 million people in the U.S, this day seems as though it will never come. Known as childhood arrivals, these individuals, though raised and educated in the U.S., are unable to apply their degrees professionally as a result of their unlawful presence. Motivated this struggle, this article explores the recent implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a change in U.S. immigration policy designed to provide these individuals with an opportunity to apply their degrees professionally and begin their long desired careers.

After more than a decade of Congress continuously rejecting the implementation of the DREAM Act, President Obama exercised his executive authority and ordered the Department of Homeland Security and its subsequent agencies, USCIS, ICE, and CPB, to withhold the removal of certain, unauthorized immigrants who qualify for, apply for, and are granted DACA relief. This relief, unlike that of the DREAM Act, does not prescribe a pathway to citizenship, but rather promises renewable work authorization and stays on removal. Despite the opportunities the implementation of DACA could provide to those who qualify, potential applicants are armed with skepticism.

Upon examining the historical development of U.S. immigration policy and the instances in which the rules were bent, this article approaches DACA in light of historical trends, deciphering its parameters and focusing on the benefits as well as the risks involved in applying for, and obtaining DACA relief. Balancing these factors, this article explains the gamble this relief poses and the underlying reasons that such a large percentage of potential applicants have electively withheld from applying for deferred action.

Keywords: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, Immigration, Policy, Immigrants, Children, Illegal, Unauthorized, Unlawful, Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, US Customs and Boarder Patrol, ICE, USCIS, DHS, CBP, United States

JEL Classification: I29, J29, K00, K10, K19, K23, K29, K33, K40, N30, N31, N32, N33, N34, N35, N36, N40, N41, N42

Suggested Citation

Richard, Michael, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Place a Bet or Wait on a DREAM (December 19, 2012). 40 S.U.L. Rev. 293, Available at SSRN:

Michael Richard (Contact Author)

Southern University Law Center ( email )

P.O. Box 9294
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
United States


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