In September 2017, President Trump announced the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, which deferred action from deportation for certain individuals who were brought to the United States as children. Over a year later, DACA is fortunately still alive. Some important changes have been made, and the future of the program is still uncertain. But the good news is that DACA recipients, for the time being, are still benefiting from the program.
After President Trump’s announcement, federal judges across the country acted to halt the government’s termination of the program. In January, a San Francisco judge ordered that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services begin accepting applications for DACA renewals nationwide. Similar rulings have come down in New York, Texas, and the District of Columbia throughout this year. Although several of the cases are still being discussed in the Court of Appeals, this is great news for individuals who have already received DACA status because it will allow them to file a renewal of their DACA status and continue living and working legally in the United States while government officials try to find a more permanent solution.
Importantly, however, federal judges have not reopened the application for new DACA recipients. This means that while those who were already benefiting from DACA protection are still protected and able to renew their DACA protection, there is not currently a way for individuals who might have previously qualified for deferred action under the program to benefit from it. Some, such as the judge in the District of Columbia case, have called for the DACA program to be reinstated in its entirety and allow new initial applications to be accepted once again, but it has not yet been decided whether the program will return back to its previous form.
What does this mean for immigrants today? First, for DACA recipients, it means that they are still safe to remain with their families, living and working here in the United States. At the same time, it also means that staying up to date with DACA renewals is more important than ever. With the future of the program still unknown, allowing your DACA to lapse or expire could make it that much harder to maintain legal status.
Second, for those individuals not already protected by DACA, the fact that the program has survived President Trump’s termination in any form is a great sign. And, while applying for the DACA program as a new recipient is not currently an option, this is something that could change down the road. The DACA litigation is complex and ongoing, which makes it difficult to predict what the future holds for DACA.
If you have questions about your DACA renewal or the DACA program, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys at 312-782-1804.
Here are some links to helpful information regarding the DACA program:
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