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DACA Saved (for now) by U.S. Supreme Court Decision: What’s Next?

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DACA Saved (for now) by U.S. Supreme Court Decision: What’s Next?

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What Happened?

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Trump administration’s 2017 attempt to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was legally improper because the government agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its action. The 5 to 4 decision did not address whether the DACA program itself is lawful or was lawfully created, but it did note that the Trump administration does have the power to rescind DACA and remanded the case for DHS to “consider the problem anew.”

Who Does This Affect?

The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for the nearly 650,000 people who benefit from the DACA program, also known as “Dreamers,” protecting them from deportation and allowing them to work and reside lawfully in the United States if they meet the eligibility requirements for the program. The DACA program was initially created by the Obama administration in 2012.

For the time being, under the current decision, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must continue processing the following types of DACA requests:

  • Renewal requests for people who currently have DACA
  • Renewal requests for people whose DACA expired one year ago or less
  • New/initial requests for people whose previous DACA expired more than one year ago
  • Initial requests for people whose previous DACA was terminated (provided they are currently eligible for the benefit)

In addition, because the Court’s decision requires DHS to maintain the DACA program as it was created in 2012, unless and until DHS follows the correct procedure to terminate the program, USCIS should begin accepting initial DACA requests and applications for advance parole (travel documents). At this time, though, USCIS has not issued guidance on when and how they will be processing these matters.

What’s Next?

While last week’s Supreme Court decision is fantastic news for the immediate future of the DACA program, advocates expect that the Trump administration will likely try again to rescind the program, this time trying to provide more “sound” reasoning for its action. However, when this may happen is unknown, as it could be very soon or DHS could wait until after the November presidential election—or any other time of their choosing.

In the meantime, Congress has the power to grant lasting relief to Dreamers, all of whom came to the United States as children and for whom the United States is the only home they know. Congress needs to take action immediately and pass bipartisan legislation granting permanent legal status and a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other childhood arrivals, preventing hundreds of thousands and their families and communities from continuing to live in uncertainty, fear, and legal limbo.

What Can I Do?

  • If you are an immigrant:
    • If you have DACA, previously had DACA, or think you are eligible for an initial grant of DACA, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney or accredited legal representative regarding your eligibility to file a renewal or initial DACA request and regarding potential options beyond DACA.
    • Read up on your rights under the U.S. Constitution and know what to do if immigration agents (“ICE”) come to your home, work, or approach you in public.
  • If you want to advocate for a permanent solution for childhood arrivals in the United States:
    • Call and/or write your Senators and Representatives expressing your support and asking them to pass a permanent legislative solution ASAP. You may also be able to meet with your member of Congress or a member of their staff by appointment or speak with them at a local “town hall” meeting, if they are holding those in your area.
    • If you are eligible, make sure you are registered to vote ahead of the November 2020 election and then go make your voice heard at the polls.
    • Educate your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and community about the importance of protecting childhood arrivals and about their positive impact on our economic and communal well-being.

 

Please stay tuned for continued updates via this website and our Facebook page throughout this time.

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