DACA Hanging On by a Thread: Dreamers in Danger of Losing Protection
By: Harlan York
October 22, 2022

DACA currently on life support…

Last week, big tech companies including Apple, Meta and Microsoft took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal in support of DACA – the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals that has been in place since 2012, and helped immigrants under the age of 31 who came to the US before the age of 16 to stay in the country. There are currently around 800,000 DACA recipients in the US.

The ad which was signed by Target, Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, Apple, Google, and MGM Resorts among others said:

“Collectively, we represent the backbone of an American economy facing tremendous workforce challenges as a result of the pandemic. We face another crisis if Congress fails to act on an issue that has strong bipartisan support from the American people.” 

DACA recipients are in danger of losing their work permits and protection from deportation.

Despite the fact that a DACA recipient was allowed to represent our country at the summer 2021 Olympics, federal judges inflicted a blow to the program in the summer of 2021, and we have been on a downward road ever since.

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) would get a two-year DACA status without having to reapply.

On October 5, 2022 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision on the 2012 Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) policy.

The court partially affirmed the district court’s July 2021 decision declaring the 2012 DACA policy unlawful.

However, the court of appeals preserved the partial stay issued by the district court in July 2021 and remanded the case back to the district court for  further proceedings regarding the new DHS DACA regulation published on Aug. 30, 2022 and scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 31, 2022.

It’s the “further proceedings” that make it a concern that DACA will continue. While the case may ultimately go to the Supreme Court, many believe the Court, now more conservative, will ultimately rule that DACA itself is illegal, particularly because it allows for work authorization for undocumented migrants.

Here is what you need to know about DACA as of October 2022

Is DACA still in place?

Yes, for now, for those that already have it.

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. Renewals are being processed, but no new applications are going through.

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 2022?

No, 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!

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.


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 may be only one of them.

About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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