Deferred Action is an act of discretion by the Department of Homeland Security that grants temporary relief from removal by allowing you to stay temporarily in the U.S. It has been used by DHS for many years to assist foreign nationals facing humanitarian concerns that prevent them from returning to their country. The most common form of Deferred Action is called TPS or Temporary Protected Status which was created in 1990 and granted to nationals of certain countries designated by the Attorney General who are temporarily unable to return safely to their home country because of an environmental disaster, ongoing armed conflict or other extraordinary and temporary condition.
The most recent form of deferred action was DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which allows certain foreign nationals who were brought to the U.S. before turning 16 years old during a specific period of time and who have graduated or achieved a high school diploma or its equivalent. The topic of Deferred Action was recently litigated as several states opposed DAPA and expanded DACA which, most importantly, would allow parents of U.S. citizen children to stay temporarily in the U.S. in this protected status.