DACA News: Helping Dreamers Stay Current

DACA News: The Latest

Updated: August 25 2020

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is subject to constant litigation.  If you or your loved one is undocumented and arrived here as a child, you’ll need to stay on top of the latest DACA news.

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision, allowing DACA to remain in place for now.

On June 19, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) released a statement concerning DACA.   USCIS is the agency that reviews all DACA applications.  In its statement, USCIS says it disagrees with the Supreme Court decision but did not discuss any further actions.

UPDATE: August 25, 2020, USCIS released final guidance  on DACA.  The important parts of this DACA news is:

  • USCIS will reject all initial requests for DACA and applications for Employment Authorization Documents (work permits).  If initial DACA requests were made during the last few months then USCIS will return the fees and applications;
  • The renewal of work permits for existing DACA recipients  will be for one year instead of two years.
  • The renewal of work permits for existing DACA recipients filed more than 150 days before the expiration of the work permit will be rejected;
  • USCIS will not grant advanced parole absent “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”

What is DACA and what was the Supreme Court case about?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program created in 2012 by then President Barack Obama. The program protected from deportation certain noncitizens who came to the U.S. when they were young, met the education requirements, and did not have any disqualifying criminal convictions. The program was based on the federal government’s longstanding authority to “defer action” against (i.e., not deport) undocumented persons.

The government through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established DACA guidelines in a 2012 agency memo. In 2017, DHS rescinded the 2012 DACA memo and issued a new memo stating that DHS was ending the DACA program because, in their words, it was unlawful. This DHS action was challenged and eventually argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

What did the Supreme Court say about DACA?

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a decision stating that the 2017 memo by DHS did not offer a legally adequate reason for ending DACA. Specifically, the Court ruled that DHS failed to fully explain why it no longer wished to “defer action” against the almost 700,000 DACA recipients. Because of the Supreme Court’s decision, the 2017 DHS memo rescinding DACA is now null and void, and the original 2012 memo creating the DACA program is reinstated.

Does this mean that new applicants can apply for DACA?

In theory, the recent Supreme Court decision restores DACA to its original version, which would allow people to apply for DACA for the first time.

However, USCIS announced on July 28, 2020 that it would not accept initial DACA applications.  This is despite the Supreme Court ruling.   Additionally, USCIS will now grant work authorizations for one year instead of two year periods for DACA renewals.   You may consult the government’s DACA website or the USCIS’s DACA application page for any further news. We will also update this page as the status of DACA changes.

It is  a good idea to speak to an immigration attorney about the DACA program.  This is important as information can change in the next few months. 

Update August 25, 2020:  USCIS will reject all applications from new applicants for DACA.  

If I already have DACA, can I still apply to renew it?

If you’ve already been approved for DACA and a work permit, then you can continue to renew it as needed. However, it’s important to keep up with news on DACA as it’s entirely possible that the government could again attempt to terminate the program. But unless anything changes, you can, and should, continue to renew it the same way you have over the last several years.

Update August 25, 2020:  USCIS will now only give work permits for one year instead of two years. 

If my DACA renewal is still pending, what will happen to it?

The government and DHS are legally bound by the 2012 memo that created the DACA program and currently have a procedure for reviewing and approving renewals. Therefore, there is no reason why they should deny or reject any pending application for renewal.

Update August 25, 2020:  USCIS will continue to process DACA renewals but will only give work permits for one year instead of two years. 

If I have DACA, can I now apply for advance parole?

USCIS has stated that at this time it will not grant advanced parole absent exceptional circumstances.  This could charge, however, so continue to visit out website for updates.

Update August 25, 2020:  USCIS will give advance parole to DACA recipients  only for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”

How much longer will DACA be around?

Short answer: Nobody knows.

The government could issue a new memo at any time attempting again to cancel DACA. The hope is that any new attempt to rescind DACA would be challenged in the same way that the 2017 memo was challenged. Any new legal challenge could keep DACA in place until after the 2020 elections.

Stay on top of DACA news for the latest.

If and when DACA ends, will I be deported?

The government cannot deport you without due process.

If you’ve been in the U.S. for over two years, then you have a right to fight your deportation before an immigration judge. An immigration judge is the only person with the power to issue an order of deportation against someone who has been in the U.S. for that long. You must be notified by mail of any court hearing, which will allow you to attend and argue why you should be allowed to stay. You can learn more about the deportation process on our immigration court page.

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