What is the history and current status of DACA?


The Obama administration created DACA through an Executive Order in 2012 and the Trump Administration terminated DACA in 2017. 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.

On July 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a statement indicating that while they look at terminating DACA, they will limit grants of Deferred Action to one-year increments and reject any initial DACA applications. USCIS issued a memo on August 21, 2020, implementing this guidance. As of August 21, 2020, USCIS will start rejecting any initial DACA applications, rejecting most applications for renewal filed outside the 150-day window, and reject most applications for DACA Advance Parole. On December 4, 2020, a federal judge found that the head of DHS did not have the ability to issue this memo limiting DACA because he was serving after the deadline for his appointment to be confirmed by the Senate. The judge ordered USCIS to begin accepting DACA applications pursuant to the Obama Administration’s 2012 memo. It is anticipated that the incoming Biden Administration will continue to honor DACA and in preparation for this, CARECEN is now accepting initial DACA clients as well as applicants for Advance Parole.

For more information on the history of the DACA litigation, please visit the National Immigration Law Center’s webpage.

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