By now, most everyone knows about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It received a lot of press in 2012 when President Obama announced that he would allow certain young people to remain in the United States without the threat of deportation hanging over their head.

Lately, DACA has received a bit more press again because some argue that it led to the influx of Central American children coming to the border to seek safety and refuge.

Deferred Action, though, isn’t only for children. The program has been around for years and it allows different agencies of the government to exercise discretion and grant certain foreigners the ability to stay in the United States and receive work authorization. However, “regular” Deferred Action does not lead to permanent residency and can be revoked at any time.

Why would USCIS grant Deferred Action to someone?

I have two cases that are pending, and I have high hopes. In the first, the applicant meets all of the requirements for DACA, except she entered the United States 41 days too late to qualify. She’s an outstanding young woman and hopefully, though she’s not eligible for DACA itself, she will be granted Deferred Action instead.

In the second case, we’re asking for Deferred Acton for a mother whose United States citizen son requires monthly blood transfusions; a treatment not available in her home country. She’s in the U.S. on a tourist visa, but that can only be extended so long. She also needs a way to support herself and her son as he undergoes his treatments, and she can get that with Deferred Action, but not as a tourist.

While a great tool to help foreigners in special or precarious situations, Deferred Action is extremely difficult to get and isn’t something that everyone should try. In order to be considered, you have to show compelling reasons, you have to let USCIS know that you’re in the country, and still, the odds are not in your favor.

However, when there are absolutely no other options, this may be the only way to try and move forward. Just make sure to seek qualified help when you decide to move forward so you can make your case as strong as possible.

– Tracie