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So what exactly is DACA?

“Dreamers,” originally from Ecuador, watched Attorney General Jeff Sessions' remarks on ending DACA.
“Dreamers,” originally from Ecuador, watched Attorney General Jeff Sessions' remarks on ending DACA. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s bid to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, ruling that officials did not act properly to rescind the protections. But what is DACA and who benefits from it? Here’s a quick primer on what DACA is in its current form.

■ When did it start, and who’s it supposed to help?

The program was launched in June 2012 and protects certain young people living in the United States without legal status from deportation, if they were brought to the country as children. It also allows them to apply for work permits.

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■ Does the protection last forever?

No. Applicants who are approved for DACA receive the status for two years and can seek to renew their protected status when it expires.

■ Is the program accepting new applicants?

No. The program is not accepting applications from people who have never had DACA protections before. But it was allowing those currently in the program to apply for renewals.

■ How old are the applicants?

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, applicants had to have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. They also had to have arrived in the US before their 16th birthday and lived continuously in the country since June 15, 2007.

■ What if they have serious criminal records?

Then they’re not eligible. Applicants’ records must be free of convictions for felonies and significant misdemeanors. They’re also ineligible if they’ve been convicted of three or more lesser misdemeanors or otherwise deemed to be a public safety or national security threat.

■ Is this a backdoor path to citizenship?

No. Program participants must apply for citizenship through the same channels as everyone else. The DACA protections merely shield applicants from deportation for a two-year period subject to renewal.

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■ Is there an education requirement?

Yes. Applicants must be currently enrolled in school, or possess a high school diploma or GED, or an honorable discharge from military service.

■ How many people are we talking about?

The eight-year-old program protects from deportation about 650,000 immigrants nationwide, according to the Associated Press. Thousands of such immigrants live or study in Massachusetts.


Deirdre Fernandes and Christina Prignano of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.