U.S. Judge Orders Restoration of DACA

A federal judge has directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resume the acceptance and adjudication of petitions for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

A federal judge has directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resume the acceptance and adjudication of petitions for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

What is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program?

Former President Barack Obama created the DACA program on 15 June, 2012 by Executive Order after the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act which would have provided temporary residency and work authority to certain immigrant minors did not pass in Congress. In 2017, the Trump administration ended the program, igniting a legal battle that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. DACA recipients, often called “Dreamers,” qualify for the program if they were under the age of 31 as of 15 June, 2012; came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday; and have continuously resided in the U.S. since 15 June 2007, among additional criteria.

What are the most recent updates to the DACA program?

This past summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Trump administration’s termination of DACA in 2017 was unlawful, while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined the appointment of DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, who had terminated the program, was invalid. This was followed by a decision from Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn last month, where he ruled that Acting Secretary of DHS Chad Wolf did not have the legal authority to close DACA to new applicants, remove the protections from deportation, or shorten the validity period of work permits that DACA beneficiaries receive.

Judge Garaufis’ most recent ruling instructs DHS to post a public notice stating that initial DACA petitions from qualifying immigrants who are not currently enrolled in the program will resume adjudication. He also instructed officials to extend approved work permits for accepted applicants to two years, rather than the one-year period proposed by the Trump Administration. Reports say that an estimated one million undocumented immigrants could benefit from this recent decision from Judge Garaufis, including 300,000 young adults who qualify for DACA and may now apply.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official response, USCIS is:

  • Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action
  • Accepting DACA renewal requests
  • Accepting applications for advance parole documents
  • Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years
  • Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years
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How This Impacts Mobility

The decision provides an immediate benefit to Dreamers and employers who will now have access to a substantial pipeline of previously untapped talent. This is especially important during COVID-19, where a strengthened economy will ensure that the U.S. is on track to a full recovery. Worldwide ERC® will continue to monitor any developments to keep you up to date, should the Trump administration issue any other actions before President-Elect Biden’s inaguaration. If you have questions, please reach out to Worldwide ERC®’s Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters at rpeters@worldwideerc.org.