DACA, What Now?

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is at the top of the news headlines again.

What is going on, and where do we go from here?

On September 5, 2017, the executive branch announced that DACA would be brought to an end. In addition, it was announced that only a very small number of renewal applications would be accepted, namely from those DACA recipients whose DACA status would be expiring between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. This announcement meant that an individual whose DACA expired (as an example) on March 10, 2018, could not renew their DACA, and on that date, their protections would have expired.

What happened last week?

A federal District Court in California issued a ruling essentially saying that the executive branch could not cancel DACA as it was attempting to do.

It is important to note, however, that the decision took a different position on the ability of DACA recipients to ask the government for permission to travel with “advance parole.” Shortly after the District Court’s decision, USCIS announced that it would start accepting DACA renewals, even from people who were not in the September 5, 2017 – March 5, 2018 window.

Did the executive branch push back on the court order?

Yes, it did.

The Department of Justice (part of the executive branch) filed a notice of appeal with a Federal appeals court, asking that the District Court decision be overturned. And the executive branch could take this to the Supreme Court.

What is happening now? Is USCIS accepting renewal applications?

As of the date that this posting is being published, it appears that USCIS is now accepting DACA renewals, under the guidelines in place before the September 5, 2017 announcement by the President.

This would mean that USCIS would be accepting renewals for any DACA recipient who whose DACA will be expiring in the next 120 days. The online USCIS announcement also states that USCIS will accept renewals from those whose DACA had expired from September 5, 2016, onward. However, a decision to overturn the District Court ruling could come down at any time.

As noted above, the issue of advance parole is a separate matter.

What if the lower court decision is overturned? Will USCIS honor the applications that have been received?

This is an uncertain issue. And that is why it is so essential to work with a licensed immigration attorney, to guide you through the process.

Working with a DACA immigration lawyer is so important, because an immigration lawyer can discuss with you what this announcement means, and the difference between a renewal of your DACA, and the fact that you may not be able to apply for advance parole to travel.

Our attorneys speak several languages, including Spanish, French, and Russian.

Call us today at (212) 643-0985.