Of all the temporary and permanent forms of lawful status in the United States, DACA is one of the most tenuous. This is because it was created by Executive Order rather than by legislation. President Obama created DACA in 2012 to help hundreds of thousands of undocumented youths whose parents brought them to the United States as children. For so many of these people, the United States is the only home they have ever known.
What is DACA?
Short for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” DACA is a form of relief that is granted at the discretion of the government. Rather than providing long-term documentation and legitimacy, DACA is a means of deferring, or delaying, a removal proceeding for someone who entered the United States without inspection.
In order to qualify for DACA, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- They came to the U.S. before age 16 (with or without inspection at the border)
- They resided here continuously since June 20, 2007
- They do not currently have legal immigration status
- They were present in the U.S. on June 20, 2012
- They were under the age of 31 on June 20, 2012
- They are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a GED certificate, or that they have been honorably discharged from the military
- They have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
While DACA does not provide a path to citizenship, it has protected these individuals against deportation and kept them in the U.S. with their loved ones. It ceases the accrual of unlawful presence, and enables the DACA recipient to obtain a social security number, driver’s license, and employment authorization. Depending on the state, it may also enable some DACA recipients to attend public colleges and universities.
The Trump Administration and DACA
When Trump took office in 2017, the administration immediately began to release a slew of restrictions and policies designed to curb all forms of immigration. One move they made was an attempt to end DACA entirely.
Fortunately, federal judges across the United States issued injunctions, and, in June of 2020, the Supreme Court determined that the administration’s attempt to end DACA was unlawful. Upon this ruling, immigrants and their allies celebrated the victory—but the celebration was short-lived.
Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of DHS, decided to limit DACA by:
- Rejecting all first-time applications for DACA
- Shortening renewals from two years to one year
- Rejecting new and pending requests for advance parole
- Rejecting applications for work authorization associated with first-time DACA requests
Fortunately, these restrictions were short-lived. Federal Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn determined in November that Chad Wolf was not lawfully appointed, which means his decision to limit DACA was invalid. Less than one month later, Judge Garaufis directed DHS to restore DACA to its Obama-era operations. DHS has released an update outlining its compliance with the judge’s mandate.
What’s Next for DACA Recipients?
Although the Supreme Court’s ruling left room for the administration to try once more to end DACA, President-elect Joe Biden has expressed no intention of continuing this agenda. In fact, he has promised to push for legislation that creates a path to citizenship for not just DACA recipients but also the other millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
No matter his intentions, however, he may face substantial resistance in Congress. We will find out who controls the Senate in January with the results of Georgia’s run-off elections.
Bring Your Questions & Concerns to Our Firm
At Wheatley Immigration Law, LLC, we have worked tirelessly to help immigrants and their loved ones overcome adversity and accomplish their goals. The immigration journey can be rife with obstacles, but our attorney has more than 20 years of legal experience. He takes great pride in using this experience to help advance her clients’ best interests.
Whether you need assistance with DACA or any other immigration-related matter, you can depend on Attorney Wheatley to stand by your side from start to finish.Schedule your consultation by calling (504) 784-6803 or contacting us online today. Se habla español.