Federal Court Orders Trump To Accept New DACA Applications

By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen

A Federal District Court ruled on Friday that the Trump administration must resume accepting new applications for the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, in order to comply with a recent Supreme Court ruling issued on June 18, 2020, denying the government’s right to terminate the program.

Following the Supreme Court decision in favor of Dreamers last month, the Trump administration has continued to defiantly refuse to accept new DACA applications.

Coming nearly a month after the Supreme Court’s ruling, Judge Grimm’s order means that the DACA policy must be restored to what it was before the Trump administration terminated it in September 2017, mandating that the USCIS resume accepting new DACA requests under the 2012 executive order by Obama.

However, as of today, Monday, July 20th, the USCIS Webpage for DACA has not been updated in accordance with either the Supreme Court decision, or the Federal District Court order and instead continues to state that the agency is not accepting any new DACA applications. But more likely than not, this recent court order will eventually force the agency to comply, hopefully sooner, rather than later. Dreamers should visit the USCIS DACA webpage frequently for updates.

Once the USCIS does begin accepting new DACA applications again, it’s very important to understand that the eligibility requirements and benefits are the same as under the original Obama DACA program.

Those who qualify receive a work permit and DACA status, which is renewable every two years. Pay very close attention to the requirements and do not use “magical thinking” when applying, since this is not the safest time to apply for immigration benefits that you are not eligible for. It will unnecessarily expose your personal information and that of your family to the Trump administration. Technical details absolutely govern whether or not an individual is eligible.

For instance, if you came to the U.S. even a day after June 15, 2007 you do not qualify. If you came to the U.S. before June 15, 2007, but you were age 16 or above, you do not qualify, even if you came only a day after your 16th birthday. If you were in the U.S. in legal immigration status on June 15, 2012, you do not qualify (for example you were in the U.S. as a visitor and your period of stay (I-94) had not expired by that date). 

To be eligible under the requirements of the DACA program, you must:

-Have been under 31 years of age on June 15, 2012 (even though you can be age 31 or above now);
-Have last entered and remained in the U.S. on or before June 15, 2007, before your 16th birthday;
-Have been physically inside the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and on the date of the application;
-Not be in lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012, meaning you cannot have been in the U.S. in legal status on that date;
-Must be either currently studying or have graduated from high school, earned a GED or have an honorable discharge from the US Armed Forces or the Coast Guard; and
-Have not been convicted of a felony or DUI, or convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” or 3 or more misdemeanors of any kind.

By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen and American Immigration Central

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