Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently not accepting new applications for DACA. Only individuals who were previously granted work permits under DACA can submit applications for renewal. The required forms and qualifications for DACA renewal remain the same as previous years. 

There have been four lawsuits filed across the country addressing DACA. Judges have decided in favor of continuing the DACA program in the lawsuits filed in New York, Washington, D.C., California, and Texas. Judge Hanen who had the responsibility of dealing with the lawsuit against DACA surprisingly decided not to end the DACA program, noting that ending the program would be more harmful than beneficial for the country and that the states who prepared the lawsuit against DACA waited five years to present an argument against the program. Judge Hanen shared his opinion that the program is illegal, but placed emphasis on that fact that the program affects too many people to be abruptly terminated. The matter will most likely be dealt with by the Supreme Court as other experts in the matter have indicated.

DACA Timeline

August 31, 2018:  Judge Hanen (Federal District Court in Houston, Texas) surprisingly decides not to end the DACA program.

August 3, 2018: A federal judge (Federal District Court for the District of Columbia) rules that the Trump Administration begin accepting new/initial DACA applications, but gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) one month to appeal decision.

April 24, 2018: A federal judge (Federal District Court for the District of Columbia) rules that the Trump Administration begin accepting new/initial DACA applications again unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can produce a valid explanation for cancelling the DACA program within 90 days (until July 24, 2018); if DHS fails to provide an explanation to the court, it is required to begin accepting new applications.

February 26, 2018: The Supreme Court declines to hear case in order to restart DACA program; 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear case

February 13, 2018: A federal judge (Eastern District of New York) orders that USCIS continue accepting DACA renewal applications. 

January 13, 2018: USCIS begins accepting DACA renewals again.

January 9, 2018: A federal judge (Northern District of California) orders that the U.S government continue accepting DACA renewal applications pending final judgment.

October 5, 2017: Deadline to file DACA renewal for work permits that expired by March 5, 2018.

September 5, 2017: Trump administration rescinds deferred action. The administration states that any new applications received after September 5, 2017 would be rejected. DACA-protected individuals whose status expires by March 5, 2018 can file for renewal only until October 5, 2017.

August 15, 2012: Deferred action is introduced as a discrete concession for deportation relief by the Department of Homeland Security.

July 15, 2012: President Obama signs a memorandum known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), granting deferred action for young immigrants. This law was brought into effect as a result of years and years of promoting the DREAM Act and the many failed attempts to try to pass the bill in Congress. President Obama was in charge of sending out a presidential memorandum, a legal instrument to direct the policies of different departments and agencies of the executive branch of the United States.

Applications for DACA Renewal

The cost of applying for DACA is $495. The main application is Form I-821D (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), but the applicant must also submit a work authorization application (I-465) and biometrics (fingerprint) service fees.

Applications are currently being processed in approximately three to six months. Once approved, DACA status and work authorization are valid for two years. If your application is denied, you can present an appeal, but before doing that, another application can be sent after paying the necessary fees again.

Deferred action does not guarantee legal permanent residency or citizenship, which is what the DREAM act aimed at achieving. Deferred action can be revoked. Even though it is not a comprehensive reform, passing of DACA and the revisions made by President Obama’s executive action are important steps in bringing relief to those who were brought as children to the United States. DACA allows foreign individuals to remain in the United States with the ability to lead normal lives until a bigger measure in immigration reform can be reached.