In December 2020, thousands of young people flocked to apply for DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) after a federal judge ruled to reinstate the program. This celebrated development came after President Trump had attempted to rescind it, deeming it unlawful.
In Brooklyn, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis mandated that the Government fully restore the program, and accept and process new applications.
The DACA program grants prosecutorial discretion and work authorization to persons who arrived in the USA before turning 16 years of age.
DACA, arguably created by way of executive fiat in one of President Obama's memos in 2012, provides life changing relief for certain individuals who would otherwise live under constant threat of removal (i.e. deportation).
Over the last eight years, hundreds of thousands of "Dreamers" have benefited from the protections offered under DACA.
DACA Under Threat
Unfortunately, several states have criticized how DACA came into being. They assert that President Obama overstepped his executive powers and violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Furthermore, they argued, and continue to argue, that only Congress has the authority to dispense immigration benefits.
In Texas v. United States, a number of states (i.e. Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia) asked the court to adjudicate the legality of DACA and rule it unlawful. In this case, the defendants include twenty-two DACA recipients who are represented by MALDEF, et al. (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).
The aforementioned states are contending that DACA unjustly saddles them with additional costs relating to the provision of health care, education, and law enforcement protection to DACA recipients.
In 2018, The Honorable Andrew Scott Hanen, U.S.D.J., denied the states' motion for a preliminary injunction as they could not evidence the gravity that was necessary to obtain an injunction, due at least in part by their failure to file a lawsuit over the course of six years.
After having requested summary judgment, both sides are now awaiting Judge Hanen’s much anticipated ruling.
President Biden has tasked the Attorney General with safeguarding DACA until Congress can offer more permanent protections. Consequently, Judge Hanen may delay ruling on the matter, thereby allowing the Administration time to file legal arguments in defense of the DACA program.
Thomas A. Saenz, President & General Counsel of MALDEF, has noted that if Judge Hansen declares DACA to be unlawful, it is doubtful that the program will be immediately eliminated. Instead, it is more probable that the program would be gradually phased out in the least disruptive way possible.
While the country awaits the revelation of DACA's fate, immigration advocates have been urging those eligible for the program to apply for protected status.
See the USCIS pre-requisites below to determine if you qualify.
USCIS DACA Guidelines
Once you meet the following requirements, you may request consideration of deferred action for two years, subject to renewal.
The requirements for any individual to obtain DACA relief is as follows:
Had not attained the age of 31 (as of June 15, 2012);
Came to the United States before attaining the age of 16 years;
Must also be at least 15 years or older; unless the individual is currently in removal proceedings or under a final removal order (inclusive of voluntary departure);
Continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of filing the DACA application with USCIS;
Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has 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
Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
We assist countless foreign nationals and we will be happy to personally assist you with your application as well. Send us an E-mail or call us at (888)354-6257. For reasons on why you should consult an immigration attorney whenever you have an immigration issue, see our page titled: Reasons Why it is Vital to Use an Immigration Lawyer.