Court and Congress Take On DACA Program

On January 9, 2018 a judge temporarily blocked President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The administration announced on September 5, 2017 that the Obama-era program would wind down by only adjudicating on an individual, case by case basis properly filed pending DACA renewal requests from individuals whose benefits were set to expire from September 5, 2017 through March 5, 2018. The decision to end DACA was based on the argument that the program went beyond Obama’s legal authority and that only Congress had such authority.

However, the ruling in a San Francisco district court interpreted DACA to have been a lawful exercise of presidential authority. A week later, the Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal before the Ninth Circuit with plans to file a petition for writ of certiorari before judgment, seeking direct review in the Supreme Court.

On January 13, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published guidance on who can apply.

  • USCIS will not accept DACA requests from anyone who was not previously granted DACA.
  • USCIS will accept DACA renewals from individuals who are eligible to renew and for individuals whose DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016.
  • USCIS will accept new initial DACA requests from individuals whose DACA expired before September 5, 2016 as well as from individuals whose DACA was terminated at any point.
  • USCIS will not accept advance parole requests from DACA recipients.
  • Applicants should apply 150 to 120 days in advance of their expiration date.

The order only blocks the termination of the program until there is further court review. The revival of DACA is amidst a political battle over the future of Dreamers taking place in two arenas: Congress and the courts.

Currently, there is no set date for the appeal. However, because of processing times, it’s important for DACA applicants to renewal as soon as possible, if eligible.

We will continue to track any and all new developments and we will make every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date general information.

Our blog provides general information about US immigration law, but that does not constitute legal advice. For specific cases, legal counsel should be consulted.

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