Millions of immigrants are currently living in the United States without documentation. Many of these people, however, arrived with their parents when they were children, and the U.S. is the only home they know.
In 2012, President Obama responded to this dilemma by creating a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Through DACA, certain undocumented immigrants can obtain two years of renewable status, which allows them to get work authorization, a Social Security number, and even Medicare. While DACA does not provide a path to citizenship, it protects hundreds of thousands of people from deportation.
When Trump took office, however, he almost immediately tried to eliminate DACA. In the last three years, the program has undergone a tumultuous legal battle, as immigrant advocacy groups have filed lawsuits in an attempt to keep the program alive. In response, federal courts issued injunctions that have prevented the Trump administration from fully rescinding the program. Finally, in June of 2020, the Supreme Court decided that the attempt to end DACA was unlawful.
Despite this ruling, the DHS continued to limit DACA under the direction of Acting Secretary Chad Wolf. Per these limitations, DACA remained unavailable to first-time applicants, and current recipients could only renew their status for one year at a time.
Fortunately, a federal court put these limitations to an end. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued:
- A ruling on November 14th declaring that Chad Wolf was unlawfully appointed and, therefore, lacked meaningful authority; and
- A direct order on December 4th compelling DHS to fully reinstate DACA.
DHS issued an update detailing its compliance with the judge’s ruling and order, although a spokesperson said the agency may seek relief from the order at a later time.
What’s Next for DACA?
DACA recipients and their advocates are celebrating this most recent update, but the future of the program remains uncertain. Fortunately, President-elect Joe Biden’s immigration agenda could not be further from that of the Trump administration. For example, he plans to not only solidify DACA but also to support any legislation that establishes a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.
Whether he is successful in these endeavors may depend on the result of Georgia’s run-off elections in January.
Choose Our Law Firm as Your Trusted Advocate
At Guerra Sáenz, PL, we have over a decade of experience guiding thousands of clients through a wide variety of immigration processes. This legal terrain changes regularly and unexpectedly, which is why we maintain close communication with our clients. We develop personalized strategies and work tirelessly to achieve favorable results. Whether you need assistance with DACA or a different immigration process, we have the skills and knowledge needed to support you.