The fate of over 650,000 young immigrants, who are American in every way except for being undocumented, rests in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although the DACA program is flawed in that it does not offer a pathway to permanent status in the U.S., it is critical as it protects its recipients from deportation and allows them to receive employment authorization Through these protections, the DACA program has provided immigrant youth with access to higher education, better paying jobs, improved mental health, and an increased sense of belonging, allowing them to come out of the shadows and become more active in their communities. There are an estimated 29,000 DACA recipients who are health care workers working on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic, all while their own futures in the U.S. are in limbo.
What is Deferred Action?
- On August 15, 2012, President Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to exercise discretion to grant deferred action to qualified immigrant youth. This dramatic executive order implementing DACA occurred after more than a decade of failed attempts in Congress to pass legislation protecting Dreamers.
- Deferred action is a type of administrative protection from deportation. It allows a person without immigration status (undocumented) to remain in the U.S. temporarily.
- Persons granted deferred action may obtain work authorization during the time they have deferred action.
- Deferred action is granted on a case-by-case basis. Even if a person meets all of the requirements, it is up to the government to decide if they will grant deferred action.
- Deferred action is temporary and does not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship. Even though a person granted deferred action does not have lawful status, they are considered to be lawfully present in the U.S. during the period they are granted deferred action.
Can I Still Apply for DACA?
- On September 5, 2017, the President Trump announced the recission of the DACA program.
- Following the abrupt announcement to rescind DACA. lawsuits were filed throughout the U.S., some of which resulted in federal courts issuing orders requiring that DHS maintain the DACA program nationwide.
- USICS announced on January 13, 2018 that the agency, “has resumed accepting requests to renewal grant of deferred action under DACA.”
- At this time, requests to renew DACA can be filed, but not initial/first-time requests.
- You can file to renew your DACA up to one year before it expires.
- It is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney before filing your DACA renewal request. The Law Office of Karen Winston regularly files DACA renewal request and is available to consult with you regarding your eligibility to renew your DACA.
How Can I Stay Informed Regarding the Latest DACA News?
There are several organizations out there fighting to keep DACA alive and to keep DACA recipients informed of their rights and the current status of DACA. Some of the organizations the Law Office of Karen Winston follows on this issue are:
- Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) https://cliniclegal.org/issues/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca
- United We Dream https://unitedwedream.org/our-work/protecting-immigrants/
- The National Immigration Law Center https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/
It is expected that in May or June of 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether President Trump’s decision to abruptly end the DACA program was lawful. If the Court concludes the decision to terminate DACA was lawful, it will likely end all DACA renewals. It would then be up to the administration to determine what to do for persons who received DACA or who have applications pending.
Given the uncertain future of DACA, the Law Office of Karen Winston recommends persons eligible to renew their DACA do so right away and with the assistance of a licensed immigration attorney familiar with DACA applications.
This entry was written on May 6, 2020 and the information is subject to and likely to change. This is for informational purposes, is not intended as legal advice, and does not create any lawyer-client relationship.