Established by the Obama administration, DACA has protected undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, shielding them from deportation by granting renewable status in two-year increments. DACA protection also comes with work authorization, a Social Security number, and access to Medicare.
In 2017, however, the Trump administration moved to eliminate the program entirely. Judges across the United States immediately issued injunctions, which temporarily kept the program alive. Finally, in June of 2020, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that invalidated the administration’s attempt to end DACA, citing the administration’s failure to provide adequate reasoning and adhere to administrative procedures.
Nevertheless, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf almost immediately announced that DHS would continue renewing DACA for current recipients—but only for one year at a time (instead of two). Additionally, he ordered DHS to reject all initial DACA requests, associated work authorization documents, and requests for advanced parole.
But in November, Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn ruled that Chad Wolf did not have the authority to restrict DACA because he was not lawfully serving as acting secretary. As a result of this ruling, other decisions Wolf made may be subject to the same form of nullification in the future.
Finally, on December 4th, Judge Garaufis explicitly ordered DHS to start accepting new DACA requests and otherwise fully restore the program. As of Monday, December 7th, DACA is now open to new applicants for the first time since 2017. In accordance with the order, DHS posted an update regarding all the changes it will make to return DACA to its original operations.
This momentous update may be a gamechanger for millions of undocumented immigrants, nearly a third of which are teenagers and young adults. Immigrants and their allies are also looking to President-elect Joe Biden, hoping he fulfills his promise of creating a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants.
Do You Need Professional Assistance with Your Immigration Matter?
Navigating the U.S. immigration system is a serious undertaking, and it has been especially challenging because of the last four years of tumultuous changes and sudden restrictions. At Sebastian Simon Law Group, PLLC, we want to stand by your side and help you overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of your immigration goals. Whether you need to defend yourself against deportation, apply for an immigration benefit, or help your loved ones join you in the United States, we are here to provide the dependable counsel and representation you need.