Federal Court Restores DACA Program; USCIS Begins Accepting New Applications
As of Monday, December 7, 2020, pursuant to federal court order, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun accepting both new and renewal DACA applications as well as applications for advance parole based on DACA per the policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017. Moreover, the USCIS will be extending grants of deferred action and employment authorization documents under DACA to two (2) years.
On December 4, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement its November 14, 2020 decision, in which it found that Chad Wolf’s memo issued on July 28, 2020, which purported to rescind the DACA program, was unlawful and must be set aside. The court found that Mr. Wolf was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security when he issued the memo.
The DHS has stated that the department will comply with the court order but may file an appeal.
The DACA program began in 2012, under the Obama Administration. The program defers the removal of certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children but does not provide them with legal status. Many young people have been unable to apply for DACA since the Trump Administration terminated the program in September 2017. In June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the way the Trump Administration terminated DACA violated federal law. In response, the DHS began granting renewals for one (1) year but refused to accept new applications.
There are more than 640,000 current DACA recipients and an estimated 300,000 young immigrants who could be eligible to apply for DACA and thereby benefit from the restoration of the DACA program as of December 7th.
Foster will continue to monitor the DACA program and will provide additional updates via our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com. If you have questions about whether you are eligible to apply for DACA or a DACA-related benefit, please reach out to your Foster attorney.