On Friday, December 4, 2020, a U.S. federal judge ordered the Trump administration to completely restore the DACA program and to open it up to new applicants.
Pursuant to the court order, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was instructed to post a public notice by Monday, December 7, 2020 which states that DHS will accept DACA applications from qualified immigrants, even those who are not currently enrolled and are applying for the first time. As an additional curative measure, the court ordered DHS to begin approving work permits for a period of two (2) years, instead of only one year, which was the approval period proposed by the Trump administration.
It is estimated that over one million immigrants may be able to benefit from this court order, including about 300,000 immigrants who appear to be technically qualified and who may be eligible to apply under the court ruling.
The effect of this court ruling is that it fully restores the DACA program and requires DHS to administer it under the policies that were in place in 2012 when the Obama administration first created DACA. It also appears that current DACA enrollees would be allowed to apply for and receive “advance parole” from DHS, which allows applicants to travel abroad (and reenter the U.S.
You may be eligible for DACA if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Arrived in the U.S. before age 16;
- Lived continuously in the U.S. since at June 15, 2007;
- Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
- A U.S. high school diploma, a GED, or served honorably in the U.S. military; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to public safety of national security.
Notably, however, DACA does not allow beneficiaries to adjust status or apply for a green card; thus it does not put beneficiaries on a path to citizenship or any permanent status. Instead, it is a status that allows beneficiaries to stay and work in the U.S., and to travel abroad and re-enter. However, as many immigrants know, the ability to stay, work, and travel, even if it may be limited in duration, is a huge benefit and provides hope that DACA “dreamers” will one day receive permanent benefits and be put on a pathway to becoming U.S. citizens.
If you have questions about whether you qualify for DACA or if you need legal assistance with your DACA application, call U.S. Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel to schedule a consultation: (305) 385-3111.