For the first time since September 2017, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program has been fully reinstated. The Obama-era program offers protection from deportation and grants employment authorization to individuals that arrived in the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday and have lived in the U.S. consecutively since 2007. In September 2017, the Trump administration attempted to rescind DACA, but in June 2020 the Supreme Court ruled that the government had not followed the proper procedure to do so. Accordingly, Chad Wolf, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), reinstated the program by memorandum, but only on a limited basis. Pursuant to this July 2020 memorandum, the government would only accept and process renewal applications, meaning new potential recipients could not apply, and the protections would be limited to one year instead of the usual two-year period from before.
Then, on December 4, 2020, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered DHS to fully reinstate the DACA program. Judge Garaufis’ held that Wolf’s July 2020 memo must be put aside and ordered, effective immediately, that DHS fully restore the DACA program. On December 7, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it would proceed in compliance with this order.
The most important takeaways are as follows:
- USCIS is accepting renewal AND first-time DACA applications;
- USCIS is accepting applications for advance parole documents for DACA recipients;
- Grants of deferred action under DACA will be extended from one year to two years;
- Employment authorization documents under DACA will be extended from one year to two years.
The implications of the DACA program being fully reinstated are significant, especially for potential first-time applicants. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated 1.3 million people have become eligible for DACA since it was terminated by the Trump Administration in September 2017. If you believe that you are eligible to apply for DACA, David Swaim & Associates in Dallas, TX is more than happy to help. Please contact our office to set up a consultation.
Associate Attorney- Dallas, TX
David Swaim & Associates