The United States has had a tumultuous relationship with immigrants, and never has this been more accurate than in the last four years. In 2017, for example, the Trump administration decided to end an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Fortunately, this attempt appears to have finally failed after a 3-year long battle.
In 2017, immigrant advocacy groups sued the administration over its decision to end DACA. As a result, U.S. district courts in California, New York, and the District of Columbia issued nationwide injunctions that allowed current DACA recipients to continue renewing their status. In June of 2020, the Supreme Court finally upheld DACA because the administration’s attempt to end it was unlawful.
DACA recipients and their loved ones celebrated this ruling, but the DHS shortly announced that it would continue to restrict the program by rejecting all initial DACA requests (and work authorization/advanced parole documents) and renewing current recipients’ status for only one year at a time.
In November of 2020, a federal judge found that Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of DHS, was not lawfully appointed. As such, he was not authorized to limit DACA. One month later, on December 4th, the same judge explicitly ordered DHS to reinstate the program.
According to a recent update, DHS is now:
- Accepting requests for DACA from first-time applicants (along with work authorization and advanced parole requests);
- Resuming 2-year DACA renewals; and
- Resuming 2-year work authorization renewals.
If you had to renew your DACA status before this update and after Chad Wolf reduced the renewal period, you will still need to renew your status again in a year. There is currently no plan to grant an additional year to DACA recipients who could only renew their status for one year.
What Does This Mean for Immigrants?
DACA provides temporary, renewable status that defers deportation for two years at a time. It also allows recipients to obtain work authorization, a Social Security number, and Medicare. According to the Migration Policy Institute, 1.3 million people are currently eligible for DACA, and the federal judge’s order means these individuals can apply for the protection they need to stay safe with their families in the United States.
Unfortunately, DACA does not allow recipients to apply for permanent residence (a green card), which means they will never qualify for citizenship. However, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to fight for legislation that changes this. He hopes to provide a path to citizenship for not just DACA recipients but also the millions of other undocumented immigrants living in the United States today.
Bring Your Questions & Concerns to Our Firm
Are you or a loved one in need of assistance with DACA or another immigration-related matter? Our attorney at Maghzi Law Firm, LLC is more than just a lawyer—she is an immigrant herself, and she wants to use her personal and professional experience to help you succeed. Our firm is focused exclusively on immigration law, which is why we are fully equipped to help you accomplish your immigration goals.