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DACA Litigation Update and What DACA Eligible Individuals Must Do Right Now

DACA 2018
Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

As you know, we have been following the DACA-DREAMer saga faithfully, providing undocumented youth and their allies information, commentary, and guidance for almost four years.

Now it’s time for an update and some advice. You know that the Trump administration, in its never-ending hate toward immigrants and people of color, rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in its fifth year of implementation, in a phase-off manner. This action left in real uncertainty more than 800,000 young people who had abided by the rules and requirements of the program, leaving them afraid to lose their job permits, bringing to their lives the fears of deportation and financial ruin for their families.

DACA supporters rushed to their defense through the courts, which have been, for the most part, setting a line of defense against Trump’s immigrant-bashing policies.

Among the several court cases to protect DACA-DREAMers, the rulings in NAACP v. Trump, et al., and Trustees of Princeton, et al. v. United States of America, et al. by Judge John Bates, who described the DACA phase-off as “arbitrary and capricious” and “egregious”, stand out. He said the administration failed to explain why the program was unlawful and indicated that the phase-off will affect hundreds of thousands of individuals’ lives. The judge delayed the implementation of the reinstatement of DACA to allow the agency to come up with a better explanation.

He gave the government 90 days to explain the rescission of DACA.

When Judge Bates made these comments, the DACA program had already been resumed after two federal judges issued nationwide injunctions against Trump’s order and directed USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to accept renewals of the two-year DACA permits, and after the Supreme Court declined to circumvent the appeals process.

But the previous rulings dealt only with individuals already in the program. Judge Bates went a little further, proposing the possibility of allowing NEW APPLICATIONS, potentially opening the program to tens of thousands more young immigrants.

This is very important.

It would mean more undocu-youth protected, some of whom may not have yet accrued illegal presence in the U.S., such as the youngest DACA-eligible individuals. 

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Individuals with active DACA need to keep renewing their Deferred Action.

United We DREAM offers good guidance and tools for DACA renewal. Follow this link.

2. Individuals who for any reason never applied for DACA need to be up to speed. Collect all the documents, save money for the application fees, and have the application ready, in case Judge Bates effectively opens the door to new applications as he suggested in his ruling in April 2018.

3. Immigrants between the ages of 15 and 18 who fulfill the rest of the requirements and who were too young to apply for DACA previously but got excluded by Trump’s phase-off and the litigations in progress may soon be able to get into the program. This is very important because we do not want those younger immigrants to ACCRUE ILLEGAL PRESENCE IN THE U.S. If this is your case, you must collect the necessary information, fill out the application and gather the filing fees as soon as possible and wait for the program to be reinstated in full as it is expected it may be.

If you have any doubts, please consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Here is our guide to looking for a good immigration attorney.

In short, if you have not applied for DACA, have the application and fees ready in case Judge Bates decides to open the process as he suggested he would.

This door for new applications may be opened around July 23, 2018 (90 days after Judge Bates’ decision in April).

Keep following Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund for this and other developments.