USCIS and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) updates

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Dev B. Viswanath, Esq. (Photo courtesy of Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.)

On July 16, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas held that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy “is illegal.” The Court: 1) granted summary judgment on plaintiffs’ Administrative Procedure Act (APA) claims; 2) vacated the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum issued by former Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano; 3) remanded the memorandum to DHS for further consideration; and 4) issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the government’s continued administration of DACA and the reimplementation of DACA without compliance with the APA. However, the Court, also, temporarily stayed its order vacating the DACA memorandum and its injunction with regard to individuals who obtained DACA on or before July 16, 2021, including those with renewal requests. This means that people that currently have DACA or people who are renewing their DACA approvals, may continue to file the same but there are additional implications.

Consistent with this order, DHS will continue to accept the filing of both initial and renewal DACA requests, as well as accompanying requests for employment authorization. However, pursuant to the July 16, 2021 order from the Southern District of Texas, DHS is prohibited from granting initial DACA requests and accompanying requests for employment authorization. Also consistent with that order, DHS will continue to grant or deny renewal DACA requests, according to existing policy.

We can take from this that the DACA program will, as of today, not allow for new initial filings, but will continue to allow for renewals and that those who have already been granted DACA and worth authorization can continue to take advantage of the same. Interesting to note that the challenge was brought against the program in Texas, a deeply conservative state with tremendous immigrant tensions and issues. The Biden administration, through the DOJ, has already announced an intention to appeal the District Court’s Judge’s ruling.

For more information on Deferred Action, or specifically DACA please contact an experienced Immigration Professional.

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