On June 18, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program in 2017 was “arbitrary and capricious.” This is an important victory for immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have spent most of their lives here. But it is a temporary victory – we need to Congress act.
What’s the impact of the Supreme Court ruling?
The Court restored the DACA program as it was before September 2017, when the Secretary of Homeland Security tried to rescind it. Under the Court’s ruling, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) must continue to process all DACA requests under the rules previously in effect AND will have to publish guidance on processing initial DACA applications and travel requests.
What benefits does DACA provide for undocumented immigrants?
- Shielded temporarily from deportation.
- Eligible for work permits, social security numbers, and driver’s licenses.
- In many states, eligible for state-funded or private college financial aid.
- Ability to apply for Advance Parole, enabling brief trips abroad and re-entry to the U.S.
What does the decision mean for DACA-eligible persons?
- Persons who never applied for DACA -- including teens ages 15-18 who were too young to apply before -- will be able to apply after USCIS publishes new guidance.
- Existing DACA recipients will continue to be able to renew.
Am I eligible for DACA? You may be eligible if:
- Were born on or after 6/15/1981 and are at least 15 years old;
- Came to the U.S. before age 16;
- Continuously lived in the U.S. since 6/15/2007;
- Be in school or have at least a GED degree, or have served in the U.S. armed forces; and
- Be able to pass a criminal background check.
Should I apply for initial DACA or renew my DACA?
- Persons who need to renew their DACA can continue doing so.
- Initial DACA applicants should wait until USCIS issues guidance; premature filing could lead to rejection.
- Government fee for a DACA application is $495, and it must be renewed every two years.
There are risks to DACA: Applicants need to provide personal information to the government and pass a criminal background check.
Consult with an immigration attorney to establish eligibility and understand the benefits and risks of applying for DACA.
The Supreme Court restored DACA termination only because the Trump Administration did not follow the appropriate procedures when they tried to revoke it. The government has said they will make a new attempt to end DACA, correcting their procedural errors.
Congress needs to act by passing the DREAM Act or similar legislation. The U.S. public supports a permanent solution by large, bi-partisan majorities. In the past, this legislation has been blocked by demands for other, unrelated immigration restrictions.
Each one of us can make a difference!
Petition your Representative and Senators to provide permanent protection for DREAMers
Participate in Census 2020 and be counted!