On Monday, December 7, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began receiving DACA applications again. (1) It is not clear how long USCIS will continue to accept DACA applications — it could be a few days, weeks or months.
USCIS’s website post is in response to an order from a federal judge. (2) USCIS’s website states they are currently accepting DACA applications and granting 2-year renewals.
DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — provides temporary immigration status for some individuals who came to the United States before turning sixteen. In addition to arriving in the US before their 16th birthday, individuals who want to apply for DACA must:
Have been under age 31 on June 15, 2012
Have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007 till now
Have been physically present in the US on June 15, 2012
Be physically present in the United States when applying for DACA
Have had no lawful status on June 15, 2012
Meet educational requirements such as attending high school or obtaining a GED
Not have committed any crimes that would disqualify them
USCIS’s announcement provides a pathway forward for many individuals who meet the requirements for DACA. However, there are still potential roadblocks ahead. Monday’s announcement that individuals can apply for DACA also states that USCIS “may seek relief from the order.” (3) Reportedly, USCIS is planning to do this. (4)
If USCIS does this it is possible that a higher court could issue a stay, or in other words, say that USCIS does not have to accept new DACA applications right now. This type of decision from a higher court could be made within a matter of days. (5)
USCIS’s announcement is definitely a positive thing for the many individuals who hope for stability and security through the DACA program. Still, a new court decision could possibly allow USCIS to stop accepting new DACA applications again. At the moment, we are proceeding with cautious optimism.
(2) State of New York, et al. v. Trump, et al., 17-CV-5228 (NGG) (VMS), 2020 WL 6695076 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 14, 2020) https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nyed.390395/gov.uscourts.nyed.390395.354.0.pdf
(4) Judge orders restoration of DACA, opening immigration program to new applicants for first time since 2017, CBS News, Dec. 5, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/judge-orders-daca-restored-immigration-program/
(5) See e.g. Cook County, IL v. Wolf, (7th Cir. Nov. 3, 2020), https://www.balglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Cook-County-v-Wolf-administrative-stay.pdf (issuing stay on public charge rule one day after district court issued an injunction).
*** THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG PUBLICATION IS ACCURATE AS OF DECEMBER 8, 2020. THERE MAY HAVE BEEN CHANGES SINCE THE TIME OF PUBLICATION. ***