DACA is back! Judge orders Homeland to immediately begin accepting applications

#DREAMERS who weren’t previously eligible for DACA under Trump restrictions may NOW apply for the 1st time in 3 years!

Hundreds of thousands of young immigrants can breathe a sigh of relief. The Supreme Court has blocked an attempt by the Trump administration to end DACA.

Moreover, a federal judge has ordered USCIS to start accepting new DACA applications.

If you are trying to work or study in the US, and were brought to the US by your parents at a young age, this is great news for you!

The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s move to rescind the DACA program for Dreamers, and a federal court has now ruled that the US government must accept new DACA applications as well.

In a ruling that completely reinstates DACA, the judge declared Trump’s decision to try and block DACA “arbitrary and capricious”.

The judge also ruled that those with only a one-year DACA status, a limit placed on DACA holders by President Trump, will get a two-year DACA status without having to reapply.

If you are a young immigrant in the United States here is what you currently need to know about DACA.

Is DACA still in place?

Yes! The Supreme Court found that Chad Wolf had not been serving lawfully as the acting secretary of Homeland Security, and therefore his suspension of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was invalid.

Thus, the DACA program stands for now. The decision upholds the January 9, 2018 injunction by San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who ruled that the DACA program must remain in place while the litigation was resolved, as well as the decision in July of 2020 to do the same.

The government is not only dealing with renewals, but new DACA applicants will also be able to apply.

Who can apply for DACA?

This new decision means that young immigrants who have been unable to apply during the Trump administration can now do so.

You can apply if you:

  1. Are a first-time applicant
  2. Renewing your DACA from a previous year.

If you aren’t currently enrolled in DACA please review the section below for alternatives.

Can you currently renew your previous status?

Yes! And you should. Until further notice, renewal applications are being processed.

If there is anything we can depend on with the Trump administration, it’s that we can’t depend on anything.

If you are within six months of your renewal date, renew now. Don’t wait. It is impossible to say how long this reprieve will last. AND TALK TO THE BEST IMMIGRATION LAWYER YOU CAN FIND BEFORE FILING!

If you are not yet a Dreamer, here is what you need to know to apply.

DACA protects people who entered with family members or by themselves under the age of 16. It stops them from being deported and allows them to work.  The requirements are:

  • Under the age of 31 as of June 15 2012
  • Came to the US before the age of 16
  • Continually resided in the US from June 15 2007 to the present
  • Either currently in school, graduated from high school, or had obtained a GED, or served honorably in the military
  • No felony or significant misdemeanor

Not in the DACA program? Don’t despair.

This program was never originally designed as a permanent solution. There are many other – more fixed routes – that can help you stay in the United States including:

  • Adjustment of status
  • 601A waiver
  • U visa
  • Parole in place

For a more thorough explanation of the alternatives to DACA click here.

Remember:

Programs come and go. In the quarter century I have been practicing immigration law, we have seen more immigration benefits than I will list here, but there is frequently more than one option to help someone stay in the country.

If you are concerned about your ability to stay legally in the United States, the best thing to do is to call an expert and explore all your options. DACA is only one of them.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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