U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Begins Accepting New Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Applications

Following an order issued by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York, effective December 7, 2020, USCIS has begun to accept first-time DACA applications under the “Dreamers” program.  Although the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has agreed to comply with the order but has left it open to appeal.

DACA Under the Trump Administration

The Garaufis Order, which was issued in late November, indicated that new DACA rules made by acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf in July were invalid. The July 28, 2020 memo that Wolf issued suspended new DACA applications from newly eligible youth and shortened the duration of DACA renewals and work permits for those who already had DACA to one year.

President Donald Trump has been a longtime supporter of ending DACA and has attempted to end the program, however, on June 28, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Trump’s attempt to shut down DACA and ruled that the Trump administration did not follow proper procedures to shut it down.

DACA Reform

President-Elect Joe Biden’s immigration reform promised to fully restore DACA once he assumes office in January. Fortunately, changes have been made prior to the new year.

The policy reasons behind DACA was to ensure undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who lacked legal immigration status through no fault of their own, were brought up in the U.S. and contributed to U.S society would be qualified to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

How to apply for DACA?

There are more than 650,000 DACA recipients in the U.S.

In order to qualify, the following must be met:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and,
  8. Must be at least 15 years or older to request DACA

New DACA Rules as of December 7, 2020

As of December 7, 2020, DHS must:

  • Accept first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017;
  • Automatically extend DACA renewals and work permits issued since July 28, 2020, for a period of two years, which were issued for only one year; and,
  • Accept applications for advance parole for DACA recipients

If you should have any questions or need more information about how the new DACA rules may impact you or your family, please contact us by emailing us at info@poonahimmigrationlaw.com or by calling us at +1 (678) 978-5848. You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at www.poonahimmigrationlaw.com.