Deferred action is merely a decision by the government that they will not attempt to deport you for the period it is in effect, and provided you maintain the requirements. Because it is merely a policy, it can be terminated at any time, particularly if Obama loses the election this November.
As USCIS states on its website, "deferred action does not excuse ... any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence."
What DACA Is Not
This is not a new law. It is only an executive action being taken by the President. As such, it can be terminated by the President and is likely to be terminated by Mitt Romney, if he becomes President in January 2013, as evidenced by his opposition to the DREAM Act, his statement that "the president's action makes reaching a long-term solution more difficult," and that it is "a short-term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents," and his selection of his running mate.
In fact, President Obama himself has stated that "This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix."
Deferred Action does not provide a path to the green card or to citizenship.
Deferred Action only means that while it is in force, the government will not seek to deport the people who qualify for it.
Deferred Action does not excuse unlawful presence accrued before it is granted, nor unlawful presence accrued after it expires.
What Does DACA Provide.
Deferred action provides protection from deportation while it is in effect.
People who qualify will be eligible for a Work Permit.
Under some circumstances, people who qualify may be eligible for advance parole to allow trips outside the US. Because deferred action does not excuse unlawful presence, travel would only be available to those who are under 18 and a half at the time deferred action is granted to them. Additionally, advance parole will be limited to humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes.
By law, anyone who has at least 180 days of unlawful presence is automatically barred from the US for a period of 3 years upon their departure from the US. A presidential policy cannot change this.
What Happens If DACA Is Terminated
Although it is impossible to predict the future, it is extremely probable that, if DACA is terminated and no DREAM Act is passed, that those who applied for DACA will find themselves in deportation proceedings. After all, the US government will have their most current address, and service of a Notice to Appear for deportation proceedings at that address would suffice, even if the person moves to try to prevent deportation.
How to Apply
If after considering all the downsides of applying, you still want to apply, then it really would be to your benefit to do so with the asstance of an experienced immigration attorney. Too many people are being tripped up by such simple questions as their full name, their current immigration status etc. Too many people are not even bothering to read the form instructions.
Too many people are trying to squeeze themselves in, despite the fact that they clearly do not qualify. You must meet all the requirements to qualify. If you entered the US on your 16th birthday you do not qualify. If your 31st birthday was June 15, 2012, you do not qualify.
Too many people are asking about how to document they qualify. This suggests that people will try to submit fraudulent documents to qualify. That would be a mistake.
What Happens If You Submit Fake Documents or False Information.
USCIS has been very clear on this point. If it discovers false information on the application form, or if discovers that fake documents were submitted, it will make it a priority to deport that person.
Additional resources provided by the author
If you are having trouble documenting that you qualify, get an attorney. If you have any brushes with the law, get an attorney. If you have any trips outside the US, get an attorney. Do not submit fraudulent documents to make it appear you qualify. If you do not qualify, do not try to squeeze yourself in. It will not work.
Trying to have an attorney try to fix a problem after the fact will cost you more, than if you hired an attorney to begin with.