What Is DACA? Here’s What You Need to Know

President Donald Trump’s administration plans to end in March the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals policy that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation and allowed them to work legally in the U.S. The six-month delay would give time for Congress to act. Here are five states that may be among the most affected by the decision on DACA.

(Published Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017)

The program that protects young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas has been rescinded. But many questions remain about what will happen to the program's beneficiaries.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in September that the program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, will end in six months to give Congress time to find a legislative solution for the immigrants.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "lawful, orderly wind-down" of the DACA immigration program late Tuesday morning, claiming the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was an issue best tackled by Congress instead of the executive branch. The program was created by the Obama administration in 2012. 

(Published Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017)

Since then President Donald Trump has suggested he could revisit the issue if Congress doesn't come up with a solution in time. A possible legislative fix appears in flux and the White House has not yet sent its legislative principles to Capitol Hill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sept. 13 they struck an agreement with the president at a dinner meeting to "enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides."

But Trump pushed back the next day, saying on Twitter that "no deal was made."

Republican lawmakers then said that at an Oct. 2 dinner Trump agreed any deal would come after Congress tackled tax reform, and that he was focused on a narrow deal for DACA recipients, not a broader deal.

In Washington, there is a search for answers about the ambush in Niger that killed four U.S. Service members.

(Published Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017)

Here's a look at the program and what happens next for the 690,000 people currently enrolled in it who are allowed to work in the U.S. and receive protection from deportation.

WHAT IS DACA? DACA was created by President Barack Obama in 2012 after intense pressure from immigrant advocates who wanted protections for the young immigrants who were mostly raised in the U.S. but lacked legal status.

The program protects them from deportation — granting a two-year reprieve that can be extended and by issuing a work permit and a Social Security number.

DACA recipients must meet several requirements, including having no criminal record. Immigrants who are accepted into the program and later get arrested face deportation to their home country.

The Trump administration's feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson continues for the third day, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubling down on chief of staff John Kelly's "empty barrel" critique during a Friday press conference. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, slammed Wilson in a late night tweet on Thursday, calling her "wacky." 

(Published Friday, Oct. 20, 2017)

They also must have been 30 or younger when the program was launched and brought to the U.S. before age 16.

The application cost is nearly $500, and permits must be renewed every two years. The application and renewal process take several weeks, and many immigrants hire lawyers to help navigate the process.

DACA does not give beneficiaries legal U.S. residency; they are simply given a reprieve from deportation while being allowed to legally work.

The overwhelming majority of DACA recipients are from Mexico. One in four of them live in California.

The Senate cleared the way to President Donald Trump's tax plan when a $4 trillion budget plan was narrowly pushed through by GOP lawmakers Thursday - this, as attention was focused on Trump and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly's public argument with Rep. Frederica Wilson over the president's alleged mistreatment of a Gold Star widow.

(Published Friday, Oct. 20, 2017)

Nearly 790,000 people have taken advantage of the program since 2012, though some went on to have their status lapse or revoked, became legal permanent residents or became U.S. citizens.

As of September, statistics by the Department of Homeland Security showed that 690,000 were currently enrolled.

WHY DACA? Frustration grew during the Obama administration over repeated failures to pass the "Dream Act," which would have provided a path to legal U.S. citizenship for young immigrants brought to the country as children.

The last major attempt to pass the legislation was in 2011.

White House chief of staff John Kelly said Thursday he was "stunned" and "broken hearted" by a Florida congresswoman woman's criticism of President Donald Trump's phone call to one of the families of Americans killed in Niger nearly two weeks ago.

(Published Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017)

Immigrant activists staged protests and participated in civil disobedience in an effort to push Obama to act after Congress did not pass legislation. DACA is different than the Dream Act because it does not provide a pathway to legal residency or citizenship. Still, DACA recipients are often referred to as "Dreamers" — a reference to the earlier proposals that failed in Congress before Obama's action.

WHY END DACA? President Trump was under pressure from several states that threatened to sue his administration if it did not end DACA. And he declared on the campaign trail that the program was an "illegal" executive amnesty.

White House officials argue the order Obama issued creating the program was unconstitutional and that Congress should take charge of legislation dealing the issue. They say the program was on shaky legal ground and would not have survived legal challenges in the courts.

Immigrant advocates, clergy and business leaders including the chief executives of Apple and Microsoft put intense pressure on Trump to maintain the program. But he decided to end it.

Former President Barack Obama returned to the political spotlight Thursday for the first time since leaving office by campaigning for the Democratic nominees for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia.

(Published Friday, Oct. 20, 2017)

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Young immigrants already enrolled in DACA remain covered until their permits expire.

If their permits expire before March, 5, 2018, they are eligible to renew them for another two years as long as they apply by Oct. 5.

If their permits expire beyond that March date, they will not be able to renew and could be subject to deportation when their permits expire.

As of the morning of Oct. 5, there have been 118,000 out of a potential 154,000 renewal requests submitted to the Department of Homeland Security.

Former president George W. Bush criticized the current state of American politics and the Trump administration with a pointed speech on the "casual cruelty" common in modern political discussions, as well as references to a tyrannical government, at the George W. Bush Institute on Oct. 19, 2017. 

(Published Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017)

People who miss the October deadline will be disqualified from renewing their permission to remain in the country and could face deportation, although the Trump administration has said it will not actively provide their information to immigration authorities.

And it will be up to Congress to take up and pass legislation helping DACA beneficiaries. One bill introduced this year would provide a path to legal permanent residency.

Many DACA beneficiaries say they worry they will be forced to take lower-wage, under-the-table jobs and will be unable to pay for college or help their families financially.