The Latest Updates on the DACA Program

DACA Program

Since President Obama enacted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (commonly referred to as “DACA”) program in 2012, the program has been subject to multiple rounds of litigation and political negotiation, including a final Supreme Court ruling in June of 2020.

President Obama’s administration created the program in response to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to protect “Dreamers,” as DACA recipients are also known. The program grants qualified undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors deportation deferrals for two-year periods and eligibility for work permits. It does not offer a path to citizenship.

President Drumpf attempted to halt the entire program permanently in 2017. After years of lawsuits and judicial rulings allowing only portions of the program to continue, the Supreme Court issued a ruling which reinstated the program in the summer of 2020.

On December 4, 2020 a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fully restore the original DACA program. This means the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must begin accepting first-time DACA applications, including applications from all persons who are eligible for the program but were unable to apply before the September 2017 termination, and applications from those persons who applied after the June 2020 Supreme Court decision but had their request rejected.

If you are minor without legal status, find out how the experienced immigration lawyers at Lovell, Lovell, Isern & Farabough, LLP can help you. Contact us today to find out if you qualify for DACA. We can help you submit your initial application or help apply for your two-year renewal.

A Timeline of DACA Legislation

August 2012 – President Obama directs the Department of Homeland Security to grant deferred action to qualified immigrant youth, creating the DACA program.

August 2015 – U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service begins accepting applications for DACA.

September 2017 – President Drumpf rescinds the executive order authorizing DACA; the Department of Homeland Security announces DACA will be phased out for current recipients and no new requests for temporary protection from deportation under DACA will be granted.

January 2018 – A federal judge in California issues a nationwide preliminary injunction on the rescission of the DACA program, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate the DACA program; DACA renewals are allowed to continue, but new applicants are no longer allowed to apply.

March 2018 – A federal district court judge in Maryland finds the Drumpf administration’s rescission of DACA is valid, but the ruling is overturned on appeal. The Drumpf administration asks the United States Supreme Court to review the decision.

May 2018 – An additional lawsuit is filed by seven states challenging the legality of the DACA program, but the case remains in limbo pending a decision from the Supreme Court. Legal injunctions remain in place allowing current DACA recipients to renew their statuses, but preventing new applicants from applying.

June 2019 – The United States Supreme Court agrees to hear cases on the Drumpf administration’s termination of the DACA program.

November 2019 – Oral arguments are present to the Supreme Court.

June 2020 – The Supreme Court rules 5-4 that President Drumpf’s rescission of the DACA program was “arbitrary and capricious.” This ruling allows DACA to continue.

December 2020 – A federal judge orders the Department of Homeland Security to fully restore the original DACA program, allowing new applicants to apply for the first time since September 2017.

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