DACA has been reinstated!
The DACA program, established in 2012 during the Obama administration by executive order, is an immigration policy that allows certain individuals who came to the U.S. as children and have no lawful status to apply to receive deferred action from deportation and a work permit.
In 2017, Chad Wolf, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, rescinded by memorandum the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Multiple law suits were filed challenging the lawfulness of the memorandum.
In June of 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California ruled on three separate injunctions that were blocking the rescission of the DACA program. The Supreme Court ruled that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which effectively reinstated DACA.
In July and in August of 2020, after the Supreme Court ruling, there were two memos issued to the Department of Homeland Security clarifying how DACA applications will be processed going forward. DHS was instructed to:
- Reject all initial DACA applications and Employment Authorization applications for first time applicants;
- Reject all Advance Parole applications from DACA recipients except in certain exceptional circumstances; and
- Continue to accept DACA renewal applications, but shorten the renewal period from two years to one year.
On November 14, 2020 U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis held that Chad Wolf was “not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security when he issued the Wolf Memorandum, because the Department of Homeland Security failed to follow its order of succession, as it was lawfully designated under the Homeland Security Act.” See Batalla Vidal v. Wolf, -F. Supp. 3d -, 2020 WL 6695076 at *8-9 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 14, 2020). Essentially, Chad Wolf did not have the proper authority to issue the memo on DACA, so it is invalid.
On December 04, 2020, U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ordered the vacated the Wolf Memorandum, restoring DACA to its state prior to the Wolf Memorandum. As such, USCIS must now process new and renewal DACA applications.
Application Requirements for DACA
You may request DACA if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not be convicted of a felony- significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
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Do NOT take on your DACA application alone! You can bet the USCIS will critically scrutinize all DACA new and renewal applications.