The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program allows certain undocumented immigrants to obtain temporary, renewable status if they were younger than 16 years old when their parents brought them to the United States. The status is valid for two years at a time, and it allows them to obtain work authorization.
The Trump administration, however, has been working to eliminate DACA entirely. While the Supreme Court ruled against this attempt on June 18th, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf announced on July 28th that the DHS will stop accepting new requests for this form of relief.
A new memo with additional details was released on August 24th. According to this annnouncement:
- New applications will automatically be denied (and fees will be returned);
- Applications for advance parole will generally be denied (except for those who are traveling abroad because of a family emergency or other critical reasons);
- Current DACA recipients CAN renew their status, but renewed status will only last for one year instead of two;
- Current DACA recipients can continue to obtain work permits and avoid deportation;
- The renewal fee may soon increase; and
- New applicants who are denied at this time can reapply if USCIS begins to take new applications again.
The agency emphasizes that those looking to renew their existing status should do so between 150 and 120 days before their status expires, as applications received before the 150-day mark will likely be denied.
Advance parole decisions will still be made on a case-by-case basis, and USCIS reminds DACA recipients that they will automatically lose their status if they leave the U.S. without first obtaining advance parole. You may be eligible for advance parole if your travel supports U.S. national security or law enforcement interests, if you need life-saving treatment that isn’t available to you in the U.S., or your travel is for the immediate safety or wellbeing of your immediate relative (especially your children).
This DACA policy is in place while the DHS “weighs the future of the program.” As such, we can likely expect another official attempt from the administration to end DACA, but details about its future are currently unavailable. When it ruled in favor of DACA in June, the Supreme Court simply said the administration failed to include a thorough explanation of why the program needed to end. The ruling essentially implied that the program could be ended, but the administration must follow proper protocol.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Immigrants Rising both suggest that the administration may soon face lawsuits over its decision to restrict DACA despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. For now, however, undocumented immigrants should consult with experienced professionals to explore methods of obtaining lawful permanent residence.
Bring Your Case to Our Team
The Rodriguez Law Firm will continue to provide updates regarding DACA and other immigration policies as they become available. If you are looking for a way to obtain temporary or permanent status for yourself or a loved one, we can sit down with you and explore your options. We have represented thousands of clients, and we use this experience every day to help people reunite their families, access employment opportunities, and build positive, secure futures here in the United States.