Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, undocumented youth are eligible to obtain a work permit and relief from deportation for a renewable two years at a time–so long as they meet certain criteria. They must have arrived to the U.S. before the age of 16, have been here for a minimum of five years, have graduated high school or have a GED, or have completed a tour of military service. But, any person seeking DACA must have been under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, the date DACA was first announced.
Activists have long insisted that that upper age limit is far too arbitrary. Under Obama’s executive action, the upper age limit is suspended–which means that anyone who was at least 16 when they entered is now eligible, no matter their age today. The date of arrival for eligibility moves from June 15, 2007 to January 1, 2010. DACA will also be available for a renewable three years at a time, instead of the current two years.
Anyone who arrived over the age of 16, regardless of whether they attended and graduated high school in the U.S., is still not eligible. The cost is still $465 to apply, and a background check, including biometrics, remain part of the program.
The program’s expansion will take 90 days to roll out, by which time newly qualified immigrants can apply. It’s estimated that close to 300,000 people will be eligible for DACA under this move.