[Updated] New York District Court Orders DHS to Accept New DACA Program Applications

December 5, 2020 Sara Herbek

December 9 Update

The following announcement is an update to the original story posted below.

Effective immediately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now accept new DACA applications and take other steps to comply with a court order issued by the New York federal district court on December 4, 2020. 

The agency’s public notice states that in addition to accepting new DACA applications, it will take the following actions:

  • Accept renewal requests based on terms of the DACA policy in effect before September 5, 2017
  • Accept applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect before September 5, 2017
  • Extend one-year deferred action grants under DACA to two years
  • Extend one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years

The agency has also announced that although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will comply with the court’s orders, the agency may appeal the decision.  

Envoy, Global Immigration Associates and Corporate Immigration Partners will continue to provide updates as they become available. 


Key Points
 

  • On December 4, 2020, a U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, NY ordered DHS to accept new DACA applications
  • DHS must notify the public by December 7, 2020 that it will accept and adjudicate new applications
  • DHS must issue DACA work permits for two years instead of one year
  • The latest order follows lengthy DACA litigation under the Trump administration
  • Approximately one million qualified minors may be eligible to apply to DACA

Overview

On December 4, 2020, a U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York ordered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to start accepting new DACA applications. DHS must notify the public by Monday, December 7, 2020 that it will start accepting and adjudicating program applications.

What are the Changes?

DHS will start accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for the first time since 2017. The court also ordered the agency to issue two-year work permits for approved program applicants. Earlier this year, the Trump administration proposed limiting work permits to one year. The DACA program originally allowed two-year work permit terms.

Background

The DACA program was established by President Obama in 2012. The program provides a legal pathway for work authorization for undocumented minors who were brought to the U.S. without inspection at a young age. Through the program, minors can live and apply for work authorization in the U.S. without the risk of deportation. Since its inception, DACA has protected over 800,000 minors from deportation.

DACA has been the subject of extensive litigation under the Trump administration. President Trump called for an end to the program in 2017, which prompted multiple lawsuits to be filed against the Administration. Several appellate courts subsequently ruled against the Administration as well. On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court blocked the program’s termination in a 5-4 ruling. One month later, DHS issued a memo imposing limitations on the DACA program. The memo was later invalidated on November 14, 2020 by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Looking Ahead

Approximately one million undocumented minors in the U.S. who qualify for the DACA program may now be eligible to apply for the program.


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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