President Obama created DACA by executive order in 2012. The moving parts are laid out in this memo by Janet Napolitano. It was announced earlier the same day by President Obama in a speech in the rose garden. The primary function of DACA was to give children who were brought to America illegally, who never committed a crime, graduated high school, or served in the armed forces, a few years of reprieve from worrying about deportation.
In the rose garden speech, Obama made clear that this was only temporary, and that an actual path to citizenship could only be created later through an act of congress:
Now, let’s be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.
That temporary stopgap came to an end yesterday and is being completely phased out over the next six months. Now, absent an act of Congress, those “Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper,” will have to make plans to relocate back to their country of origin. For some, this means learning a new language, a new country, and a new way of life.