UPDATE: USCIS Now Accepting New DACA Requests
On December 4, 2020, a the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order requiring USCIS to accept first-time requests for DACA. This ruling requires USCIS to do the following:
- Accept first-time requests for DACA;
- Accept DACA renewal requests;
- Accept applications for Advanced Parole for applicants who have received DACA relief;
- Extend one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
- Extend one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
As this program is politically charged, it is important for you to apply for benefits under DACA if you qualify. USCIS guidance on this issue can be obtained here.
What is DACA?
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It was first established by executive action on June 15, 2012. The program provided applicants with a temporary work authorization and a guarantee that the government will not deport them so long as they maintain the status. In order to qualify for DACA, an individual must have shown the following:
- He or she entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or his or her lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Was under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States prior to reaching his or her 16th birthday;
- Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the date of filing;
- Was present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making his or her request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Is currently in school at the time of filing, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from a US high school, has obtained a GED certificate or other equivalent State authorized exam in the United States, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the US Coast Guard or US Armed Forces; and
- Has not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Suspension of Program
On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration terminated the DACA program. However, on January 9, 2018, the US District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order requiring DACA to be reinstated for those persons already granted DACA, but did not require the government to accept new applications from those who were never granted DACA. Several other courts followed by providing injunctive relief against the Government.
Since January 2018, new DACA applications have not been accepted by USCIS. We are filing renewal applications and USCIS is routinely approving those petitions that meet the renewal criteria.