The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protects approximately 640,000 young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. without visas as children. It protects these young people, known as “dreamers,” from deportation and gives them work authorizations as long as they are of good character and stay in school.
The Trump administration, while expressing support for DACA in principle, has been working to end the program. It argues that the program was created illegally under the Obama administration because it was done by executive order. However, several courts have found that the Trump administration’s efforts to shut down the program have themselves been unlawful.
In fact, in June, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked an attempt to end DACA as “arbitrary and capricious” and unlawful. Then, in July, a federal court in Maryland ordered the Department of Homeland Security to start accepting new applicants to the program.
The Trump administration did not do so, however. Eleven days after the federal court in Maryland’s order, the acting Homeland Security secretary issued a memorandum. That memorandum blocked all new applications and reducing the renewal period for existing DACA recipients from two years to one.
Then, in November, a federal court in New York found that the acting Homeland Security secretary was unlawfully serving in that role. Therefore, the memorandum was invalid.
In early December, the federal court in New York directly ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting new applications from people who qualify for DACA protection. He gave the department until Dec. 7 to begin accepting the new applications and also to reinstate the two-year renewal permits for existing DACA recipients.
That’s where we are today. DACA is accepting new applications on the same terms as the original program. To qualify, you must:
- Have been under age 31 on June 15, 2012
- Have been brought to the U.S. before your 16th birthday
- Have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- Have been physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and when you file your application
- Have had no lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012
- Be currently in school, have graduated from high school or been granted a GED, or be an honorably discharged member of the armed forces (including the Coast Guard)
- Not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors and not otherwise pose a threat to public safety or national security
Do you qualify for DACA?
If you are interested in renewing an existing DACA application or applying for the first time, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people live and work legally in the U.S.