Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is the government's way of providing a two-year respite from deportation for so-called DREAM Act youths. And while not a permanent solution to the country's many immigration issues, Deferred Action does seems to be a positive step towards addressing an immigrant group with unique characteristics.
As with virtually any program of this nature, there will always be complications arising from its parameters. Deferred Action is no exception, and in recent weeks we've been seeing some of those make their way to into the public eye.
To meet the criteria for Deferred Action, one must "have continuously resided in the country between June 15, 2007 to the present." Which means immigrants who otherwise would have qualified for Deferred Action but chose to leave the U.S. temporarily in order to apply for citizenship are stuck in a type of limbo.
An issue that the Department of Homeland Security has yet to address is how it will treat the juvenile legal record of DREAM Act candidates. Felonies and certain types of misdemeanors disqualify candidates from Deferred Action. Whether or not DHS will handle juvenile histories the same way is not yet known.
In California a controversy has arisen over whether undocumented immigrants such as Deferred Action candidates will be eligible for state-issued driver's licenses. The measure, Assembly Bill 2189, passed the state legislature and was signed into law by the governor just last weekend. Critics
Supporters of the bill thought the measure would be helpful in ensuring undocumented immigrants are properly trained to drive a motor vehicle. Critics worried about the security risk of allowing undocumented immigrants to possess driver's licenses, given they are used as ID for a public safety-related purposes such as entering an airport.
It its not yet clear whether California (and other states) will amend its DMV criteria to include the type of documentation the U.S. government will distribute to successful Deferred Action candidates.