What has been happening with DACA? What did the Supreme Court decide about DACA? Is USCIS still accepting DACA applications?
DACA has been getting a lot of news since President Trump’s announcement last fall to end the DACA program as of March 5, 2018. Since January of this year, there have been several important court cases deciding the fate of DACA. Both cases have decided that the immigration agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, must continue accepting DACA renewal applications, as well as certain DACA initial applications, despite what President Trump decided. Please see here for more information about which categories are eligible.
The U.S. Supreme Court also recently rendered a decision related to DACA. In the case, the U.S. Supreme Court denied President Trump’s request to hear an appeal against a lower court’s decision that the government could not completely end the DACA program in the manner that it did. This means that the government must continue processing certain DACA applications. The government continues to fight the ongoing lawsuit in the lower court.
Therefore, the DACA program is still continuing, and the government is still accepting certain types of applications such as renewals. However, it is no longer possible to apply for advance parole to travel under the program.
What would I receive if I am approved? Can I still apply?
Approved DACA recipients will still generally be protected from removal for a period of two years and will have authorization to work legally for those two years in the U.S. Current DACA recipients may re-apply to renew up to 150 days before the two year period expires.
Currently, the government is only accepting applicants who are renewing their existing DACA status or previously had DACA status and want to apply again, within certain time limits. The government is not currently accepting applicants who have never filed for DACA before. In addition, the government is no longer accepting nor approving any Advance Parole applications based on an applicant’s current DACA status. Any applications for advance parole that were pending at the time of President Trump’s announcement have been returned to the applicant, along with a refund of the filing fees.
How would future court decisions affect my DACA application?
Due to the ongoing lawsuits related to the DACA program, there is a lot of uncertainty about how it would affect current DACA recipients and pending DACA applications. There is an invaluable benefit to having protection from being removed from the U.S. and the ability to work legally. However, there is still much anxiety about how the government may choose to use the personal information they have obtained, and whether they would take measures to remove them. On the other hand, there is much fury among lawmakers, advocates, and the public, propelling a potential for the passage of new immigration laws that may provide a road to lawful status, and eventually U.S. citizenship, for DACA recipients.
Applicants are encouraged to speak with an immigration attorney about their situation and discuss what options may be available to them, and to make an informed decision about their future. Many DACA recipients may be eligible to proceed to gain lawful status through a legal family member or through employment options.