On September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to start the phase out of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). However, as of January 9, 2018, a federal judge in San Francisco has temporarily blocked the President’s decision to end DACA, at least in California.
The DACA program, which has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the United States illegally, since its inception in June 2012, includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students, many of which consider the United States to be their home. The temporary block issued U.S. District Judge William Alsup has been issued in order to prevent the termination of DACA while lawsuits play out in court. After DHS was ordered to start phasing out DACA, many recipients filed lawsuits; to date, Judge Alsup has ruled on five separate lawsuits in Northern California.
Additionally, as of January 13, 2018, following the most recent decision about the fate of DACA, it was announced that USCIS will begin accepting renewal DACA applications until further notice. Also until further notice, USCIS will be operating the DACA program as it was prior to the decision made on September 5, 2017 to repeal DACA. Although initial applications are not being accepted, DACA renewal applications can be filed if DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016. If your DACA expired before September 5, 2016, or DACA was previously terminated at any time, applicants cannot apply for a renewal DACA application; however, they will be permitted to file a new initial DACA request in according with current DACA instructions and guidelines.
Forms and fees for DACA applications remain the same.
It is important to remember that deferred action is considered an act of prosecutorial discretion and does not provide a recipient with legal status. The decisions on DACA are not final and those in office will continue to fight until more permanent legislation regarding DACA can be introduced and implemented.