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Despite Trump's attempt to end DACA, USCIS will start accepting DACA applications once more!
January 16, 2018: 7:26 PM ET

By Patricia Elizee, Esq.

On January 13, 2018, The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published an announcement that the immigration agency will once more accept application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This is despite the fact that in September of 2017, the Trump administration announced that they would phasing out the DACA program by March of 2018. This change in USCIS policy came due to a federal law suit filed in California challenging the administration's plans to the end the program.

On January 9, 2018 Federal U.S. District Judge William Alsup blocked the Trump's administration's plans of phasing out by DACA by issued an injunction. This injunction forces the executive branch, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS to continue accepting DACA applications. Anyone who had DACA status when the program was rescinded in 2017 may now renew their status. The federal judge did not rule on the merits of the law suit but issued the injunction because, according to him, the plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if the Trump administration ended DACA before the legal dispute is resolved. Alsup wrote. "Before DACA, Individual Plaintiffs, brought to America as children, faced a tough set of life and career choices turning on the comparative probabilities of being deported versus remaining here. DACA gave them a more tolerable set of choices, including joining the mainstream workforce."

The White House called the injunction "outrageous" and stressed the importance of Congress finding a long term solutions for DACA recipients. The court order safeguards against the deportation of the nearly 690,000 immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while a legal challenge to ending the Obama-era program proceeds. According to new USCIS announcement, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017. Be aware that USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request. If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or your DACA was previously terminated at any time, you cannot request DACA as a renewal (because renewal requests typically must be submitted within one year of the expiration date of your last period of deferred action approved under DACA), but may nonetheless file a new initial DACA request in accordance with the Form I-821D and Form I-765 instructions.

DACA is an American immigration policy established by the Obama administration in June 2012. This policy allows individuals who entered the United States illegally as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible to receive a work permit. As of 2017, approximately 800,000 people have enrolled in the DACA program.

The Obama administration set forth DACA requirements, which includes a minor to have resided in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007, to June 15, 2012. Applicants also need to have arrived with a parent and before turning 16, be in school or have graduated from a high school. To qualify, an applicant cannot be a convicted felon or convicted of three or more misdemeanors.

Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of Elizee Law Firm, a firm focused on immigration and family law issues.
Ms. Elizee can be reached at 305-371-8846, 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131.


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