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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Audio Description: Watch New York City DACA recipients share their stories about the importance of defending DACA, the federal immigration program that gives young immigrants the opportunity to work lawfully and provides temporary protection from deportation.

Please note

Under a federal district court order, effective July 16, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can no longer process or grant first-time applications for DACA. Renewal and advance parole applications remain open for current DACA recipients—individuals who have or had DACA prior to July 16, 2021.

Litigation surrounding DACA continues to develop, and the most up to date information on the program and how it functions may change quickly. You should get immigration legal help before submitting any kind of DACA application. Call ActionNYC at 800-354-0365, Monday through Friday between 9AM to 6PM, to connect with City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.

Page updated July 23, 2021.

What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a federal immigration program begun in 2012 under President Obama that helps undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as young people. DACA provides eligible undocumented immigrants with temporary protection from deportation and access to work authorization.

What is the Current Status of DACA?

On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced the end of DACA, which allowed hundreds of thousands of people known as Dreamers to avoid deportation and remain in the United States. This decision set off a lengthy legal battle which eventually reached the Supreme Court, which ruled on June 18, 2020 that the Trump Administration's efforts to end DACA violated federal law. Although the Department of Homeland Security continued to attempt to limit DACA, by December 4, 2020, a federal judge ruled that the government must fully reinstate the DACA program, ordering USCIS to begin accepting initial DACA applications as well as renewals.

However, a separate case challenging DACA which started in 2018 and is led by Texas and nine states continued to move forward in a Texas federal court. On July 16, 2021, the judge in that case issued a decision finding the DACA program unlawful. The decision in this case may still be changed by a higher court, and the Biden administration has said it plans to appeal.

This decision limits DACA yet again. For people who have or had DACA on or before July 16, 2021, their grant of DACA and work authorization continues to be valid, and current DACA recipients are still able to apply for advance parole. However, USCIS has been ordered to stop processing or granting any first-time DACA applications.

What Does the Recent Texas Federal Court Decision Mean for DACA Recipients and DACA Eligible Individuals?

  • For those who obtained DACA on or before 7/16/2021, even if for the first time, their deferred action status and work permit will continue to be valid.  
    • Renewal Applications – DACA recipients continue to be eligible to file renewal applications. It is very important to file timely for renewals (between 120-150 days before expiration) to avoid delays.
    • Advance Parole Applications – USCIS should continue to process advance parole applications for current DACA recipients (please always consulted a trusted legal representative before travel).
  • First-time DACA applicants with pending applications as of 7/16/2021 and DACA eligible individuals
    • USCIS will stop processing first-time applications, even if they were already filed. We do not know yet what USCIS plans on doing with these applications and await further guidance.
    • While USCIS can still accept first-time applications, they cannot process or grant these requests.
    • Anyone with a biometrics appointment that has not been cancelled or a Request for Evidence should consult with a trusted legal representative

What Happens Next?

  • President Biden stated that the Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision. An appeal would go to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. After a decision there, the case could be appealed to the Supreme Court. 
  • While the appeal is pending, the Texas court’s decision could be changed or modified by a higher court. Another federal court could also come to a different decision which would require the Supreme Court to resolve any differences.
  • DHS plans to issue a proposed regulation concerning DACA in the near future. This may also affect how this litigation on the DACA program’s legality progresses.
  • This decision which puts DACA in jeopardy again makes it clear that we need Congress to act now to create a pathway to citizenship for all that is inclusive of DACA eligible community members and their families.

How Can I Get Assistance Now?

To get answers to your questions about the DACA program and to connect with City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help to apply for DACA or renew your DACA, call ActionNYC at 800-354-0365, Monday through Friday, between 9am to 6pm. There may also be funds available to assist with DACA filing fees, subject to availability. Ask your legal service provider about this during your screening appointment.

You can also monitor the USCIS website for more information.

Additional Resources for DACA Recipients

Cities for Action created a toolkit to help keep DACA recipients and impacted communities informed about the current status of the DACA program, light the pathway to resources, including financial resources, amid a constantly shifting landscape, and offer tools to both elevate the voices of DACA recipients and impacted community and drive the message that DACA recipients strengthen the social and institutional fabric of the United States.

Visit for more information.

Avoid fraud while seeking immigration legal help

Beware of unlicensed immigration service providers who take advantage of their customers. Get help only from a trusted, licensed attorney or an accredited representative. Only lawyers or those who have gotten permission from the Department of Justice can give legal advice. For questions about this, or to file a complaint about fraudulent immigration assistance service providers in New York City , call 311 and say "immigration service provider" or visit the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection website at to file a complaint in your language. You do not have to give your name or immigration status to make a complaint.

To report immigration fraud and schemes against immigrants anywhere in New York State, call the New York State New Americans Hotline at 800-566-7636 between 9am to 8pm, Monday through Friday.

Learn more about how to avoid becoming the victim of immigration fraud.

Get health insurance coverage

Current and former DACA recipients are eligible for New York State Medicaid if they are otherwise income eligible. For more information, visit the NY State of Health website. Any New Yorker who doesn't qualify for Medicaid can still access health services through NYC Care. To enroll visit the NYC Care website or call 646-692-2273.

If you're feeling anxious, stressed or depressed – help is available.

It's normal to feel anxiety and stress. You can talk to an NYC Well counselor who can provide you with confidential support. NYC Well can also connect you to mental health care in your language. Call 888-NYC-WELL, text "WELL" to 65173, or go online to

Access to City and State Identification

IDNYC, New York City's free photo identification card, is available to all New Yorkers ages 10 and up. IDNYC applicants' information is confidential. Immigration status does not matter. Learn more about the many benefits, services, and discounts available to IDNYC cardholders or call 311 and say "IDNYC" for more information and to make an appointment to enroll.
All New Yorkers can apply for a New York State driver license. Learn more about obtaining a NY State driver license.

Access to Education

Students, including undocumented students and those with DACA, who meet certain residential and educational requirements, can access college financial aid through the New York State Dream Act. Start your application onlineLearn more about the New York State Dream Act visit.

All New Yorkers may sign up for We Speak NYC classes, the City's free English language learning program that provides instruction focused on conversation through community classes and resources including videos, online practice activities, and print instructional materials. Through the program, English learners can learn to better advocate for their families, communities, and themselves. Intermediate English language learners can visit to sign up for classes and use our free English language learning resources online.

Professional Licenses

In 2016, the New York Board of Regents authorized DACA recipients, who were otherwise eligible, to obtain a professional license and certain teacher certifications. A New York State professional license is valid for life unless it is revoked, annulled, or suspended by the Board of Regents. However, professionals are required to re-register with the New York State Office of Professions periodically. See the New York State Office of Professions website for more information.

Rights and protections against discrimination

As a New Yorker you have the right to be free from unlawful discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace, housing, and public places. If you face any such treatment, call 311 and say "human rights," call the NYC Commission on Human Rights directly at 718-722-3131, or visit


For questions about this page or how to access many City services that are available to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, call the MOIA hotline at 212-788-7654, between 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, or send an email to

How can I get involved?

  • Volunteer with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. Visit or call 212-788-7654 between 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Inform & Engage: Invite the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to your community for a "Know Your Rights Forum". Visit or call 212-788-7654 during business hours, between 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.