DACA NEWS, INFORMATION & FAQS
December 4 Breaking News – DACA IS BACK!
A federal judge on Friday, December 4th issued an order requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to start processing DACA applicants’ first-time and renewal requests as well as advance parole applications based on a grant of DACA. The judge ordered DHS to “post a public notice, within 3 calendar days of this Order … that it is accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA.”
The basis for the lawsuit was the fact that Chad Wolf, the Acting Secretary of DHS, had issued a memo last July directing United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to reject all new applications for DACA and to grant DACA renewals for one year only. Wolf, however, was not properly appointed Acting Secretary, so he lacked the legal authority to order the rejection of new DACA applications: “[B]ecause Mr. Wolf was without lawful authority to serve as Acting Secretary of DHS, the Wolf Memorandum is VACATED … [A]ll parties agree that the DACA program is currently governed by its terms as they existed prior to the attempted rescission of September 2017.” See the Vox article explaining the lawsuit in more depth and the possible future path for DACA.
You now may apply for DACA if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
The attorneys at Antonini and Cohen Immigration Law Group create and defend the opportunity for individuals, families, and businesses to seek and achieve the American dream. We know DACA. Call us to schedule a consultation at 404-850-9394 or visit us online for assistance with any immigration issue you’re facing.
DACA Program Update
America spoke, and we chose Biden. This is a big win for America, and for immigrants. The Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) through the courts has failed miserably. On Saturday, November 14, 2020, a federal judge in New York ruled that Chad Wolf, Acting Homeland Security Secretary, lacked the lawful authority to suspend DACA because he was not legally appointed to his position.
“DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated,” U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis wrote in his order. “Therefore, the actions taken by purported Acting Secretaries, who were not properly in their roles according to the lawful order of succession, were taken without legal authority.”
This past weekend brought us hope as advocates for a lawful and fair immigration policy. We hope and expect that the Biden-Harris administration will fully reinstate the DACA program and even add a path to lawful permanent residence.
USCIS Rejecting Initial DACA Requests and Other Related Applications
While the recent Supreme Court decision halting the Trump Administration’s attempts to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was an important victory, the future of DACA is still unclear. In a decision dated June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court held that USCIS unlawfully terminated the DACA program. Since that decision, USCIS has been holding new DACA requests, along with advance parole requests pursuant to DACA, without issuing decisions.
But on July 28, 2020, USCIS issued a statement indicating that the agency is considering the future of the DACA policy. We take this to mean that, since the Supreme Court’s decision, the Trump administration has been scheming how to accomplish its goal of terminating DACA in a manner that will withstand legal challenges. USCIS stated in its July 28th memo that it will now make the following changes to DACA, effective immediately:
- Reject all initial requests for DACA;
- Reject all applications for employment authorization filed with new DACA requests;
- Reject new and pending requests for DACA-related advance parole absent exceptional circumstances; and
- From today forward, limit the renewal period of DACA to one year.
USCIS will, though, continue to adjudicate all pending and future properly filed DACA renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization from current DACA holders. Further, all current DACA grants and associated employment authorization will remain valid and unaffected by this memo.
In light of these new restrictions, we at Antonini & Cohen invite you to contact us to discuss your immigration options. After a careful and thorough consideration of your individual history and circumstances we may be able to advise a course of action that doesn’t require a grant of DACA. In some cases we may be able to find you an avenue leading to lawful status. In other cases we may advise that you sit tight to see if a new administration and Congress are elected that hopefully will enact some form of relief for foreign nationals hoping to legalize their status. In any event, we will advise you of the various risks and benefits inherent in moving forward on any path involving immigration.
There is not a one-size fits all answer to immigration. Contact us so we can analyze the right path forward for you and your family. Our offices are open. We are scheduling in-person, phone, and video consultations.
IMPORTANT FIRM ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING DACA
While the recent Supreme Court decision halting the Trump Administration’s attempts to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is an important victory, we are recommending that DACA recipients and potential applicants proceed with caution. The future of DACA is still unclear and unsteady.
USCIS stopped receiving initial DACA requests on September 5, 2017. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision on June 18, 2020, USCIS issued a statement indicating that the agency does not believe the Supreme Court’s decision was lawful. USCIS is still processing renewal applications, but we expect the current administration will again seek to terminate DACA in a different manner.
At Antonini & Cohen, we are not recommending filing initial DACA requests unless cleared at a consultation appointment by one of our immigration attorneys. Initial requests have risks and benefits that must discussed prior to filing. For example, some cases carry a risk of triggering removal (deportation) proceedings, and these DACA recipients may not have a strong deportation defense.
Regarding advance parole for current DACA holders, our office additionally recommends caution. We must assess the risks and benefits of advance parole at a consultation appointment. There is still much uncertainty surrounding USCIS’ future plans for the DACA program and the COVID-19 pandemic presents additional travel barriers to consider.
There is not a one-size fits all answer to most DACA questions right now. We are happy to discuss what is best for your family at your consultation appointment. Contact us. Our offices are open. We are scheduling in-person, phone, and video consultations.
COME TO ANTONINI & COHEN WITH ALL YOUR IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS
The experienced attorneys and staff at Antonini & Cohen are committed to helping non-citizens achieve their American Dream and avoid deportation. Visit us online or call us at (404) 850-9394 for assistance with any immigration issue you’re facing.
Do you have a question not covered here? Contact us to ask a question today!