DACA Flip Flop Yet Again! Young immigrants in limbo. . .

DACA recipients are currently in limbo again

Despite the fact that a DACA recipient was allowed to represent our country at the Olympics, a federal judge inflicted a blow to the program in late July.

After a court decision in late July 2021, potential recipients for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are once again in limbo as a judge from Texas blocked new applications for the program. The move puts in limbo the status of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers — including potential DACA applicants who had not yet enrolled.

This ruling puts the weight of immigration reform on the Democrats, and the immigration reform package they are currently putting together in Congress. Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hopes to bypass regular avenues with a $3.5 trillion budget resolution package that would include opening avenues to citizenship for millions of immigrants while strengthening border security.

Previously, DACA recipients were once again allowed to apply for new applications in the winter of 2020 and spring 2021.

Back in the winter of 2020, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s move to rescind the DACA program for Dreamers, and a federal court in New York had ruled that the US government accept new DACA applications as well.

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

The judge had also ruled that those with only a one-year DACA status (a limit placed on DACA holders during the Trump administration) will get a two-year DACA status without having to reapply.

Here is what you need to know about DACA as of August 2021

Is DACA still in place?

Yes!

The U.S. 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.

Can You Apply For DACA for the first time in 2021?

Not currently. New applicants were able to apply in the spring, but it is currently on hold until further notice.

You can apply only if you are renewing your DACA from a previous year.

If you are not 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 any 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!

Who Qualifies For DACA

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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