Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program Has Been Fully Restored
On December 4, 2020, Judge Garaufis required the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take certain actions to implement his November 14th opinion on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which was written to reinstate the program. The DACA program began on August 15, 2012, when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for DACA. The program was implemented by the Obama Administration to benefit the undocumented youth of the United States. The goal of the program was to safeguard undocumented youth from removal proceedings and give them the opportunity to attain employment authorization for two years (with a renewal option) and Social Security numbers. When the program began around 1.2 million undocumented children were eligible, and since then approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants also known as dreamers, were given the opportunity to live what many call “The American Dream”.
In September 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration would wind down DACA, which he denounced as an unconstitutional abuse of executive authority that encouraged unauthorized immigration. The Trump administration has done everything possible to block the DACA program. The program’s future was very unclear and since 2017 they haven’t been accepting new applications and have only been renewing current applications to a 1-year employment authorization. After a long legal battle, the DACA program will be returning to its 2012 state.
The December 4, 2020, ruling by Judge Garaufis led to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to begin:
· Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
· Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
· Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
· Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
To apply for DACA an individual needs to file form I-821D and they must meet and prove the following:
· Were born after June 15, 1981 (i.e., You were not age 31 or older on June 15, 2012);
· Arrived in the United States before 16 years of age;
· Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
· Were present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
· Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; and
· Are currently in school, graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a GED certificate or other equivalent state-authorized exam in the United States, or that you are an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast Guard.
The future is very bright for the DACA program and with applications and renewals being accepted again it is essential to carefully submit these documents and find appropriate legal help if needed!