DACA

The Supreme Court DACA Decision in Department of Homeland Security vs. UC Regents 

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court held that the Trump Administration’s termination of DACA violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The termination was deemed to be in error because the Department of Homeland Security did not take into account the reliance interests of the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who have obtained employment, pursued educational programs and military service, bought homes and had children in the United States under the protection of this program. The termination additionally did not take into account lesser measures the Trump Administration could have taken to terminate the program, for instance by terminating the issuance of work permits but continuing to authorize prosecutorial discretion to prevent the deportation of Dreamers.

This decision means that the termination of DACA is invalid. It temporarily restores the DACA program as it was enacted in 2012. The decision does NOT prevent the Trump Administration from terminating DACA in the coming days, weeks or months. In fact, it gives them a roadmap of the things they must consider in order to successfully terminate DACA in the future. At this point, we assume that the Trump Administration will continue their attempts to terminate DACA and that there may be a limited time in which applicants can apply to renew their DACA, or that people who have never held DACA previously might be able to apply for the first time. As of now, USCIS has not issued any guidance on how they will be processing DACA requests moving forward.

The State of DACA & Legal Services

Pursuant to this ruling, the DHS order terminating DACA has been vacated, and this means that USCIS should continue to administer the DACA program as it was originally enacted in 2012. This means that, unless they take further action to prevent it, USCIS should consider initial applications from people who have not previously held DACA, DACA renewals, and requests for Advance Parole from current DACA holders. Normally USCIS updates its webpage soon after a decision of this type to give more information on how cases will be processed. They may or may not respond with more information in the coming days. We are still awaiting this guidance and will update this webpage when more information is available. 

For the moment, CARECEN suggests that our community may want to consider renewing or applying for DACA, but with the understanding that we do not know how long this opportunity will last or how USCIS will deal with applications if DACA is again terminated while they are pending. It is always best to talk to a lawyer or an Accredited Representative from a nonprofit organization before deciding whether to request or renew DACA.

For more information, please see updates from the National Immigration Law Center

CARECEN continues to assist with DACA Renewals despite the fact that our offices are currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please book a telephonic appointment if you want to discuss filing your first DACA request or renewing your DACA:

CARECEN-LA:

CARECEN-SFV: 

  • Please call 213-385-7800 x 122 to make a telephonic appointment

TO RENEW YOUR DACA, MAKE SURE TO HAVE THE FOLLOWING:

  • Current Work Permit
  • Copy of previous DACA application, if possible (if this is your first time doing a DACA request at CARECEN)
  • Money Order for $495
  • Passport (if you have one, even if expired)
  • *Any documents that reflect name changes (i.e. marriage certificate or divorce papers)
  • **Final Court Disposition if you have a criminal history or record

FAQs

Can I renew my DACA?

Yes, for the time being. The Supreme Court invalidated the termination of DACA so USCIS should continue to accept DACA renewals up until the point that the Trump Administration makes a new move to terminate DACA, which could be a matter of weeks or months. 

 

What if my DACA is expired?

You can continue to submit renewal applications if your DACA is expired, as this has been possible since the termination. If your DACA status has been expired for more than one year, you will need to submit an initial application showing that you continue to meet all of the requirements to qualify for DACA. Again, if DACA is re-terminated, we may lose the ability to submit all types of DACA requests.

 

Can I apply for DACA for the first time?

It appears so. The Court’s decision invalidates the termination of DACA, which is what had resulted in the inability to submit new requests for DACA. USCIS has not responded to the termination so far but we assume that they will continue to process first time applications as they did prior to the termination. CARECEN will assist first-time applicants for DACA with the understanding that at this point, nobody knows exactly how USCIS will process these cases and they do run the risk of being rejected or denied. 

 

Could I be deported if I apply for DACA?

The Trump Administration has worked to expand the types of cases that will result in removal proceedings if the applicant is denied. It has specifically exempted DACA from this list of application types due to the pending litigation. This means that currently, the risk of being placed in removal proceedings is fairly low if the applicant does not have a significant criminal or immigration history. This could change in the future, however, so all applicants need to be aware that this is a risk in applying for DACA. In addition, it is likely that ICE has access to information provided in DACA requests. While applying for DACA appears to be relatively safe at this time, there are no guarantees.

Can I apply for Advance Parole?

It appears so. The Court’s decision invalidates the termination of DACA, which is what had resulted in the inability to submit requests for Advance Parole to travel outside the United States for professional, educational, or humanitarian purposes. Since USCIS has not yet responded to the decision, we do not know how difficult these requests will be and we do not know for how long the window to apply for Advance Parole will be open. The potential to apply for Advance Parole will likely end again if/when DHS attempts again to terminate DACA.  

When does this all take effect?

The Supreme Court’s decision goes into effect immediately so theoretically, USCIS should start accepting initial applications and applications for Advance Parole as of today. USCIS has not published further guidance on how it intends to handle these cases, so there is still much that is unknown. CARECEN is ready to assist with these cases even before USCIS guidance is released because we do not know when or if USCIS will release further guidance and we do not know how long the window to apply will last, given that DHS could again move to terminate DACA. We believe that there may be a value in applying as soon as possible as long as our clients are aware of the risk that the case could be rejected or denied as USCIS has not given internal guidance to their own staff on processing them.

 

What is the cost to renew or apply for DACA?

CARECEN is able to provide free legal services to people whose households earn under 250% of the Federal Poverty Line. You can check your income eligibility here. If your income is higher than that, we charge a $200 legal services fee, or you can book an appointment through one of our offsite partners, including the through the Los Angeles Public Library’s New Americans Campaign here

There is currently no USCIS filing fee assistance available and the fee to submit a DACA request is $495. This is payable by credit card, debit card, or money order.