DACA: All eyes on Texas

Last update: November 10, 2018

Are DACA applications currently accepted by USCIS?
Yes. Due to a federal court order, USCIS has been again accepting applications for DACA renewals since January 13th, 2018. In short, USCIS stopped accepting DACA applications between October 5th, 2017 and January 13th, 2018.

Who can file a DACA application now?
The following terms currently apply:

  • Applicants must have been granted DACA before
  • Renewal applications will be accepted for individuals whose DACA is expiring on or after September 5th, 2016
  • Initial applications will be accepted for individuals whose DACA expired before September 6th, 2016
  • However, applications for advance parole will NOT be accepted

What is the reason for the federal court judgement?
The DACA program was cancelled by the U.S. Department of Justice. They said that the former President of the United States did not have the authority to create the program, only Congress does, so DACA was not legal. The judge disagreed saying essentially that not only did the former U.S. President have the authority to create DACA, but Congress mentioned the existence of DACA at multiple times, clearly implying that it was ok with it.
In short the judge seems to be saying that the U.S. Department of Justice could have said ‘we are changing the policy, we do not want DACA’ and they would have been able to cancel the program. But they said ‘we are canceling DACA because DACA is illegal’ and the judge is saying ‘then you cannot do that because DACA is actually legal’.

Why are all eyes currently on Texas?

Due to a federal court order, USCIS has been again accepting applications for DACA renewals since January 13th, 2018. On January 19th, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice tried to bypass the normal appeal process and asked directly the Supreme Court to overturn the judge’s ruling. But, on February 26th, 2018, the Supreme Court refused to review the court order that  ‘re-opened’ DACA immediately.

Overall, three different judges from New York, California and the District of Columbia have issued injunctions ordering USCIS to accept applications for DACA renewals.

However, a new challenge to DACA brought by ten U.S. States is currently before a judge in Texas. What happens if the judge issues a nationwide injunction ordering USCIS to stop processing DACA applications, contradicting prior injunctions? Will the Supreme Court take the case?

What for the others? Are previously issued DACA and EADs immediately revoked?
No, they will be valid until their stated expiration dates.

What if I have a renewal request for DACA and associated EAD pending?

Applications that have already been accepted by USCIS will be processed and two-year permits will be issued for successful applicants.

What if I already have advance parole?

You can keep using it for its stated validity, but it cannot be renewed.

Where can I find the official memorandum about the latest rules?

You can find it here.

Why are DACA recipients ‘dreamers’?

Because they came to the United States before they turned 16.

What does DACA stand for?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival.  Until the expiration of their permit, Dreamers are protected from removal from the United States by not being a ‘priority for removal’.

What does EAD stand for?

Employment authorization card.