(Updated resource; originally posted 05/31/2018)
When President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, the government assured applicants that it would not use information included in DACA applications to deport applicants or their families unless an exception applied. Relying on the government’s promise, nearly 800,000 young people have applied for and received DACA.
In 2017, the Trump Administration changed its immigration policy to make it possible to disclose information shared by DACA applicants, and in 2018 it changed the guidelines to expand who it could place in deportation proceedings or refer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These policy changes caused much confusion and fear among DACA applicants who worried that the government will use their information against them.
However, litigation regarding the disclosure of DACA information and exemptions to the deportation guidance for DACA applicants put DACA applicants in a special category that may protect them from some of these changes.
In March 2018, a federal court temporarily forced the government to protect information from disclosure if the information came from a DACA application. In June 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also released a policy memorandum clarifying that DACA applicants are exempted from the new expanded guidelines, that it has not changed its policy as promised under the Obama Administration, and that they would continue to pursue deportation against DACA applicants only under limited circumstances.