USCIS To Begin Accepting New DACA Applications – Here’s What You Need To Know!

CNW Legal Analyst, Attorney Caroly Pedersen

Photo credit AP

New Federal Court Ruling:

A Federal court in New York issued a ruling on November 4th, ordering the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to its status pre-Trump state, prior to the administration’s termination of the program in September of 2017.

The court gave the USCIS three calendar days to not only begin accepting new DACA applications but to further issue approvals for the full two years and to resume approving DACA advance parole (travel permits) as well.

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In his order, federal judge Nicholas Garaufis directed the Department of Homeland Security “…to post a public notice, within 3 calendar days of this Order, to be displayed prominently on its website and on the websites of all other relevant agencies, that it is accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under DACA, renewal requests, and advance parole requests, based on the terms of the DACA program prior to September 5, 2017,”.

As of December 7, 2020, the USCIS has not posted that required notice and continues to defy the order by posting a notice with says it will not accept new DACA applications. However, keep checking back throughout the week to see if the agency will comply with the judge’s order.

 

Background of DACA:

For background, the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by President Obama in 2012, was meant to shield hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. at a young age by their parents, from deportation. To qualify, young immigrants were required to:

1) be between ages 15 and 30 as of June 15, 2012;

2) have come to the US before age 16,

3) have been in the U.S. continuously for at least 5 years before June 15, 2012, meaning by at least June 15, 2007 or before

4) be in the U.S. as of June 15, 2012,

5) be currently be in school (any middle, high school, GED, college or tech school),  or have graduated from high school, have GED or be honorably discharged and

6) have not have been convicted of a Felony offense, major or multiple Misdemeanors

 

Those who qualified under the program received two-year DACA status, a Work Authorization card, a Social Security Card, eligibility to apply for a Driver’s License,  and the right to attend college and serve in the military.

 

Trump Termination of DACA and resulting Federal Court Litigation:

Shortly after taking office in 2017, Trump cancelled the DACA program, which then led to numerous lawsuits against the administration.

These lawsuits continued and have been winding their way through the various federal courts since 2017. One such lawsuit was decided by the Supreme Court this past June, resulting in a decision against the Trump administration, preventing it from abruptly cancelling the DACA program. The court ruled that the USCIS should resume accepting new DACA applications for Dreamers who qualify under the 2012 Obama program but did give the agency the option of properly terminating the program at a later date in the future.

The Trump administration then ignored the Supreme Court ruling and refused to resume the full DACA program, which led to further federal lawsuits and similar rulings against the administration. However, rather than resume the DACA program and accept new applications as ordered, the acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo in July to refuse to accept any new DACA applications, to even further restrict DACA to only one year (instead of two years) and to refuse acceptance of any applications from DACA holders for a travel permit, except in very limited circumstances.

After a hearing on the case last month, Judge Garaufis issued a ruling on November 14th invalidating Wolf’s July memo, concluding that the acting Homeland Security secretary was not properly appointed and did not have the legal authority to make these changes.

What Happens Now:

For now, Dreamers must wait until the USCIS posts a notice that it will begin accepting new DACA applications, or until Biden restarts the program (hopefully in January). Once that happens, young immigrants who meet the (above) DACA requirements can begin to apply for DACA status and work authorization.

Applicants should complete forms: I-821D, I-765 and I-765W and be very careful to provide extensive documentation to prove eligibility, including:

-Two (2) Passport photos for Work Permit with name printed on back

-Copy of Birth Certificate (with English translations if in a foreign language) or Passport showing date of birth

-Copy of I-94 Card or Passport Stamp (if entered legally)

-Copy of Educational Documentation

  1. Copy of Diploma(s) or GED certificate or receipt for Current enrollment in GED prep
  2. Copy of School Transcripts for all years attending school in the U.S. (in date order)

Criminal Documents (if you have EVER been arrested or detained) Certified copies of the following for any and all instances in which you were arrested for any reason:

  1. Police Reports
  2. Court Dispositions

 

– Copies of Additional Documentation to prove that you have resided in the U.S. since  June 15, 2007,  have remained physically here since that time and were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012. Documents should cover the entire period from 2007 to present to prove that you have remained inside the U.S.  and  typically include:

In date order:

Copy of school transcripts

Copy of school report cards/Awards/Certificates

Copy of Marriage Certificate(s) for all marriages in the U.S.

Copy of Divorce Certificate(s) for all divorces in the U.S.

Copy of Driver’s License(s)

Copy of Paystubs/Work Records showing dates of employment (not just letter from employer)

Copy of Bank Statements showing activity

Copy of Tax Returns (if you have a SS or ITIN#)

Copy of Lease & Rental Payments

Copy of Cell Phone Bills

Copy of Utility Bills

Copy of Gym or other memberships

Copy of credit or installment payments (if you have a SS or ITIN#)

Copy of automobile insurance

Copy of automobile registration & title

Copy of medical/dental/hospital records

Copy of health insurance

Copy of vaccination records

Copy of Receipts for items purchased

Copy of Church & Club Memberships

Copy of BJ’s, Costco & other similar Cards

Any other document of any kind to prove that you have been living inside the U.S.!!!!!

Affidavits from Family, Co-workers, Friends, Pastors/Ministers/Priest, important members of the community such as police, mayor, School Principle, etc. (we will provide a sample). Note that Affidavits from family members are not given much weight, so try to provide those from non-family members whenever possible.

 

American Immigration Law Center can assist DACA applicants in submitting new and renewal applications. For more information, call at: 954-382-5378. You can get links to DACA forms and resources  by visiting www.Immigratetoday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link in the upper left-hand corner or by visiting the enewsletter site at: www.americanimmigrationcentral.com

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