In recent months there have been several changes to DACA worth being aware of. Below is a list of frequently asked questions to help community members and DACA recipients navigate these changes.
As explained in detail below, we expect more updates on DACA in the following months as we wait for a court decision on the status of DACA. For this reason, DACA recipients should continue to remain informed since we expect that the decision will impact DACA recipients.
Note: Are you enrolled at a California State University or California Community College? Your campus may currently be offering free immigration legal services thanks to generous funding by the California Department of Social Services. Check in with your campus or visit findyourally.com to find out more!
What is the status of DACA?
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was implemented in 2012 through a memorandum issued by the Obama Administration. As discussed below, this memorandum was the subject of litigation, or lawsuits filed in court. Several states, including Texas, argued that the 2012 DACA memorandum was unlawful. In 2022, the Biden administration published a final DACA rule, partially as a way to strengthen the policy. Although this rule did not change the requirements for DACA, it replaced the 2012 Memorandum by codifying DACA into federal regulations.
Unfortunately, although we have the new rule, at the moment, because of pending litigation, DACA is not open for persons who have never had DACA or whose DACA has expired for more than one year. This means that individuals who have DACA or had DACA and their DACA expired for less than a year can continue to submit and receive approvals for their renewals from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As we explain later, DACA recipients can also continue to apply for Advance Parole.
You can also find these frequently and asked questions as a downloadable PDF here.
What is the current DACA litigation?
Texas v. United States is the current DACA lawsuit, and it is being decided in the Southern District of Texas by Judge Andrew S. Hanen. The court will decide whether the recently published DACA rule is lawful and whether the government should be allowed to continue to approve DACA applications under that rule.
When will we get a decision from the district court?
The District Court issued a scheduling order as to when actions must be taken by both parties (attorneys and advocates defending DACA and the states suing the administration over DACA’s legality). According to the schedule, parties have a deadline of the end of April to submit arguments. Because of this, it seems that a final decision on the legality of the DACA rule will not happen until end of April or May. With that said, it is possible that the scheduling might change. DACA recipients should continue to seek information from trusted sources to learn when a decision finally happens.
Even after the District Court issues its decision, it is likely that the decision will be appealed to the Fifth Circuit or directly to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Do we know how the district court will rule?
No, we will not know how the District Court will rule until they issue their decision. It is important to note that while the Court is now deciding on the legality of the DACA rule, this Court has already ruled that the 2012 DACA memorandum is unlawful. Back in July of 2021, Judge Hanen ruled that the administration had overstepped their power and that the DACA memorandum which created the policy was unlawful.
If the District Court rules that the DACA rule is unlawful, the states suing the administration have urged the judge that the administration should wind down the program two years after the decision. If the Biden administration appeals, it is likely that the decision will once again be temporarily halted while litigation continues.
Is there a change in the fee for DACA?
Recently, USCIS changed their policy on how someone should pay their DACA filing fee. While the filing fee continues to be $495, USCIS is asking DACA applicants to split their payment by submitting one check/money order for $410 to cover the cost of the I-765 Employment Authorization and one for $85 to cover the cost of the I-821D Deferred Action.
What can DACA recipients do now?
DACA recipients should remember that renewals are still being accepted and approved by USCIS. Those who are eligible to renew should do so. Also, DACA recipients and undocumented youth should seek a full immigration consultation to understand their immigration options.
Visit https://ilrc.me/findhelp to find a free or low-cost trusted legal services provider in your area. Lastly, it’s important to remain informed about future changes to DACA and be engaged in efforts working for permanent and inclusive immigration policies.
Details for California State University legal services partners can be found here.
Details for California Community Colleges legal services partners can be found here.
What is the DACA Rule and How Does it Impact Me?
On August 30, 2022, the Biden Administration issued a new rule on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that will incorporate DACA into the Federal Regulations. Since its announcement, several questions have been raised around who can access DACA now and what it means for all those first-time applicants who are waiting to obtain DACA. This community resource outlines key points for you to keep in mind as you navigate access to DACA now and when the rule goes into effect on October 31, 2022.
How to Complete a DACA Renewal
This video details how to complete a DACA renewal application packet by walking through the various forms’ questions to highlight what they mean and focus on areas worth paying close attention to. As always, we highly encourage applicants to seek a consultation with a trusted legal service provider before submitting their packets. Namely this is so applicants can ensure they are submitting their information as accurately as possible and addressing the dimensions of their specific case that may or may not allow them to be eligible for other forms of immigration relief. In this one-hour walkthrough video, the ILRC’s Legal Outreach Coordinator, Abraham Bedoy, dives deep into each form required for a renewal so those taking on their own application packet (forms: I-821D, I-765, I-765WS, G-1145) can follow along to double-check their entries.
Persons are barred from receiving or renewing DACA if they have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. DACA applicants who have been arrested or convicted of a crime may still be eligible, but they should first obtain their criminal records and take them to an expert immigration practitioner to obtain legal advice about their eligibility and potential risks of applying. This resource provides persons applying for DACA with instructions about what criminal records they need for their application and how they can find them.
Applicants must meet certain requirements to be eligible for DACA, including showing that they have been continuously residing in the United States since June 15, 2012. Acquiring documents to use as evidence to prove the continuous residence requirement can be tedious. As such, this resource focuses on the types of evidence initial DACA applicants can gather to prove continuous residence and where applicants can get this evidence.