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The fate of DACA has been in the news on a regular basis since the Trump Administration announced on September 5, 2017, that it was rescinding the program. Multiple lawsuits were filed to attempt to stop the government from ending the program, and some of those were successful.

In January 2018, USCIS updated its website to include guidance on the DACA program, stating that no new applications would be accepted from individuals who had never had DACA before, but that the agency would continue accepting renewal applications from individuals who have previously had DACA. Under the instructions for the DACA forms (I-821D and I-765), individuals who let their DACA lapse for more than one year or who had their DACA terminated at any point must send in an initial application instead of a renewal. The January guidance confirmed that the agency will continue accepting initial applications for those individuals. The January guidance stated that USCIS still will not accept applications for advance parole, however, meaning DACA recipients without a previous grant of advance parole should not travel outside of the country without other authorization.

The Department of Homeland Security asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review one of the DACA cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had had a chance to issue a decision, and in February 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari, meaning they refused to hear the case for now. This left the January guidance in place for the time being.

In March 2018, one district court declined to stop the government from ending DACA, but because other courts had already issued injunctions preventing the government from doing so, the decision did not affect the program. The court did, however, tell the government it could not use information obtained through the DACA program for enforcement purposes without first getting permission from the court to do so.

The most recent update in the DACA program occurred only three days ago. On April 24, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. held that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to end DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” and vacated the termination of the program. It held that the government must accept new DACA applications in addition to the renewals. This would give individuals who had never had DACA but who otherwise qualify the opportunity to apply and received DACA benefits. However, the court put its decision on hold for 90 days to give the government an opportunity to respond; for now this means no changes to DACA.

If you have questions about your eligibility to apply for or renew your DACA, or if you would like a review of your immigration options, contact Joseph & Hall P.C. for a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

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