Terms and Definitions

Accurate Terms and Definitions Related to DACA and Undocumented Immigration Status

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation and 2) a work permit. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal.

Individuals who are granted deferred action are neither placed on a path to citizenship nor given a formal immigration status. They have no legal “right” to remain in the country, cannot sponsor family members to come to the United States, may not travel abroad without receiving advance permission from the government, and will not receive a “green card” or any other document evidencing a legal right to be in the country. 

The N.C. Department of Transportation issues driver licenses and identification
cards to applicants qualified under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals program, which grants work permits to immigrants who were brought to
the U.S. as children.
DACA recipients may apply for a social security number.

In North Carolina, DACA students are not eligible for in-state tuition, state or
federal financial aid; they can attend public and private colleges and universities.
Losing DACA does not change anything in this regard.

Given the Supreme Court ruling in support of DACA in June 2020, individuals eligible for DACA should contact an attorney or community advocate for advice on how to proceed with a renewal or a new application

Source: National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/
Center for New North Carolinians: https://cnnc.uncg.edu/what-daca-recipients-need-to-know/

An undocumented person refers to a foreign-born individual that has entered the United States without inspection (and not subsequently obtained any right to remain) or stayed in the United States beyond the expiration date of a visa (tourist, student, or worker) or
other status. This has become a symbolic term used to replace derogatory words like “illegal” or “alien.”

Source: Immigrants Rising: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/glossary-of-common-legal-terms/#vbc

The U.S. government may grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to persons already in the United States who came from certain countries experiencing conditions of war or natural disasters. TPS allows a person to live and work in the United States for a specific time period, but it does not lead to U.S. permanent residence (a green card).

Source: Immigrants Rising: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/glossary-of-common-legal-terms/#vbc

Adjustment of Status refers to the process where a foreign national applies for Lawful Permanent Residency status in the US. This is in contrast to “consular processing,” which requires the person to apply from a US Consulate from his/her country of origin. It is also distinguished from “change of status,” which applies to nonimmigrants moving from one nonimmigrant status to another.

Source: Immigrants Rising: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/glossary-of-common-legal-terms/#vbc

A foreign national may be granted asylum if he or she can demonstrate a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on (1) political opinion, (2) religion, (3) race, (4) nationality, or (5) membership in a particular social group in his/her home country. Asylum cases should be filed within a year after arriving in the US. Some exceptions may apply.
One year after the receipt of asylum status, the asylee may apply for lawful permanent residence. Although refugees are by definition legally documented, current U.S. policies are not encouraging admission of asylum seekers.

Source: Immigrants Rising: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/glossary-of-common-legal-terms/#vbc