Updates on the Status of the DACA Program

It has now been a year since we covered the DACA situation in a full blog post, though we have been sending updates in our monthly newsletters throughout the year. In short, a lot has changed in politics this year, and yet, we find ourselves no closer to a resolution on the DACA situation.

To recap, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was enacted by the Obama administration in 2012 as a way to help certain unlawful immigrants escape deportation and obtain work permits if they had arrived in the United States while they were children (under 16 years of age). The program granted this temporary status for two years, but applicants could apply for a renewal at the end of that term.

These days, everyone from grassroots protesters to large multinational corporations are advocating for the future of the DACA applicants. With an estimated number of over 700,000 DACA recipients affected by these changes, this is easily one of the most urgent immigration issues of our day.

The Trump administration first attempted to end the program in 2017, but several federal courts around the country blocked the attempt. While the legal status of DACA was debated in the courts, the government continued to accept renewal applications from existing DACA participants; however, new applications are not being accepted.

As things moved to appeals, in November, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that deferred action is not unconstitutional and has actually been a consistent part of United States immigration policy for several decades.

The Trump administration was hoping that the Supreme Court would take on the case, but it did not choose to do so in its 2019 term, which likely means that the program will have to remain in place at least through the end of 2019. As long as the program is still in place, continue to renew your DACA up to 120 days before its expiration.

The conversations that are taking place in Congress right now related to the government shutdown and funding for a wall at our southern border should likely be part of a package that will also include a solution to the DACA dilemma.

Now that the Democrats again have control of the House of Representatives, they have a better position for bargaining, as they can vote down any piece of legislation that does not agree with the party’s views on immigration. This is good news for immigrants everywhere.

While it is impossible to predict which way things will go, our take is that a deal on DACA has to be reached. Courts have shown that the administration’s repeals of the program are unlikely to stand. Also, because of the number of participants in DACA, a decision to deport them would be one of unprecedented magnitude in United States history.

Do you need assistance renewing your DACA or want to discuss other options available to you? Contact me to discuss!