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DACA – 10 Years Later

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DACA – 10 Years Later

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Ten years ago, the Department of Homeland Security announced the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, or DACA. This program was only a stop-gap measure to provide relief in the absence of Congressional action to pass legislation that would provide permanent legal protections and a pathway to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship for DREAMers. Now, ten years after the creation of DACA, the future of the program is tenuous, and the program has faced numerous legal challenges over the years. Here is a brief update on the latest with DACA:

  • June 15, 2012 – DHS announces the creation of the DACA program
  • September 5, 2017 – the Trump Administration rescinded the 2012 memorandum that established DACA, and announced the winding down of the program. Initial requests for DACA are no longer accepted, but renewal applications continue to be accepted based on a federal court injunction.
  • December 4, 2020 – A federal court in New York orders that USCIS must accept initial requests for DACA.
  • July 16, 2021 – In a lawsuit brought by the state of Texas and several other states, a U.S. district court judge in Texas rules that the DACA program is “illegal.” Initial requests for DACA are no longer accepted, but the government continues to process renewal applications.
  • September 2021 – DHS released a proposed rule that would create new regulations for the DACA program and provide an increased measure of protection and stability for the program. A final rule has not yet been released.
  • July 2022 – the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in the government’s appeal of the July 2021 order finding DACA “illegal.”

What does this all mean?

For now, individuals who current have DACA, or whose DACA status expired within the past year, may continue to submit a renewal application. For those who have never held DACA and are now eligible, USCIS will accept first-time applications but will not make a decision on the application.

Many people anticipate that the Biden Administration will roll out the final rule for the DACA program within the next several months, though this is not guaranteed.

If you have any questions about the DACA program, including your eligibility to renew DACA or apply for the first time, contact our office to speak with one of our attorneys.

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