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. As explained in a previous post, the Court’s decision left the door open for the Trump administration to rescind DACA anew.
Under the Court’s decision, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should have been accepting both initial and renewal DACA requests, as well as applications for advance parole (travel documents), since June 18. However, USCIS never issued guidance on when and how they would be processing initial requests or advance parole applications. In addition, according to numerous reports from attorneys both in Colorado and nationwide, USCIS continued to reject these applications, despite the Supreme Court’s decision.
On July 17, 2020, a federal district judge in Maryland ordered USCIS to begin accepting initial DACA requests and advance parole applications. However, USCIS continued to reject these applications, now despite the Supreme Court’s decision and a federal district’s judge’s order.
Finally, on July 28, 2020, after nearly six weeks of blatantly ignoring the Supreme Court’s decision and a subsequent federal district court order, the Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under which USCIS falls, announced in a press release and an accompanying memorandum that it will be conducting a “comprehensive review” of the DACA program to assess its legality and to determine whether and, if so, how to continue the program in the future. In the meantime, the agency announced the following immediate changes to the DACA program:
Following the announcement, a senior administration official told a Politico reporter that the new memo counts “as an intervening action that would allow the administration to continue rejecting new applicants in accordance with the court order.” In addition, the official declined to disclose how long the agency’s “comprehensive review” of the DACA program might last, but “the period could keep the program in effect beyond the presidential election in November.”
However, in doing this, DHS is again failing to follow the Supreme Court’s decision and lower court’s order requiring the agency to maintain the DACA program as it was created in 2012 and to continue processing initial and renewal requests and associated EADs in grants of two years, as well as advance parole applications. Further, DHS has failed, again, to give a reasoned explanation for its action, but rather has simply stated that it has “concerns” about the program and needs to conduct a “comprehensive review of the same.” Thus, DHS should be prepared to face litigation on this matter.
While the program continues to remain in limbo, here are some action steps you can take:
Please stay tuned for continued updates via this website and our Facebook page throughout this time.
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