DACA News: Helping Dreamers Stay Current

DACA News: The Latest

Updated: December 7, 2020

UPDATE: On December 4,2020 , a ordered USCIS to restore DACA and begin accepting new applications. 

This is based on the judge’s November found that the acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, didn’t have the authority to modify DACA.  The judge found that Chad Wolf was not properly appointed by the Trump Administration so any such action he took changing the terms of DACA was void.

For those noncitizens without DACA, you may may now qualify and apply if you meet the following criteria:

  • You came to the United States before age 16;
  • You were not yet age 31 on June 15, 2012;
  • You have lived here continuously since June 15, 2007;
  • You entered the U.S. unlawfully or fell out of status before June 15, 2012;
  • You are in school, graduated from high school or have a Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED);
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, a “significant misdemeanor,” or more than three misdemeanors of any kind.

USCIS has officially updated their website here.

This decision resulted from the Supreme Court’s decision in June 2020 about the program.  Read more about it below:

child

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 In 2017, DHS rescinded the 2012 DACA memo and issued a new memo stating that DHS was ending the DACA program because, in their words, it was unlawful.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 December 4, 2020:  USCIS must begin accepting 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 December 4, 2020:  USCIS will now have to give work permits for a full 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 December 4, 2020:  USCIS continue to process DACA renewals and new applicants and must give work permits for 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.

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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