On Tuesday January 9, 2018, United States District Court Judge William H. Alsup ordered the Trump administration to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, which Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “rescinded” on September 5, 2017. DACA recipients may file requests for extension of their DACA status under the same rules as in effect before September 5, 2017 and for as long as the litigation over Trump’s rescission of the program presses on.

family jumping with USA flag
family jumping with USA flag

Judge Alsup also ruled that the federal government did not have to process new applications from people who had not previously received protection under the program, however, however, he ordered the government to continue processing renewal applications from people who had previously been covered. “In terminating DACA,” the Trump administration “failed to address the 689,800 young people who had come to rely on DACA to live and to work in this country. These individuals had submitted substantial personal identifying information to the government, paid hefty fees, and planned their lives according to the dictates of DACA,” the judge wrote. The DACA Program was created by the Obama Administration to protect from deportation 800,000 young people known as the “Dreamers” who were brought to the country as children and has no lawful status.  

On January 13, 2018, the USCIS announced that it has resumed accepting requests for renewal of deferred action and work authorization under DACA.  The USCIS website indicates that “until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017.”

According to the USCIS, individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may now file applications for renewal of their DACA status and work authorization. USCIS, however, is not accepting requests from individuals who have were not granted DACA previously and USCIS will not accept or approve applications for advance parole travel documents from DACA recipients.

DACA recipients whose DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016, may still file a DACA request as a renewal request.  Those whose DACA expired before September 5, 2016, or whose DACA was previously terminated at any time, 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. DACA requests will be adjudicated under the guidelines set forth in the original, June 15, 2012 DACA memo.