MARCH 2018

..."The Saga of DACA"

...continued from home page

By Alberto Gonzales

Immigration Attorney

(708) 916-3077

On September 5, 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Secretary, under President Trump, announced the termination of the DACA program. Applicants who never had DACA could no longer file new applications (initial applications). Those whose DACA benefits were expiring between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 were required to submit their renewal applications by October 5, 2017 to extend their benefits by another two years. Pending DACA applications as of September 5, 2017 will continue to adjudicated and, if eligible, approved. While those with DACA benefits expiring after March 5, 2018 could no longer renew, their existing DACA benefits were not cancelled.

The termination of DACA has been challenged in federal court. As a result, on January 9, 2018, a federal trial court in California temporarily ordered the government to continue accepting DACA renewals until further order of the court. Another federal trial court in New York issued a similar order.

Accordingly, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun accepting DACA renewal applications again as of January 13, 2018, temporarily disregarding the September 5, 2017 termination notice of the program. As of the date of the writing of this article (February 20, 2018), USCIS continues to accept DACA renewal applications (but not initial DACA applications). However, a higher court could issue at any moment a ruling in favor of President Trump’s DACA program termination. If that occurs, USCIS will immediately stop accepting DACA renewal applications.

What will eventually happen to DACA? It is very possible that a higher court would rule for President Trump’s termination of the DACA program. The DACA program was initiated by executive action alone, and thus a new executive action can cancel it. It is also possible that congress may step in and enact DACA into statutory law. Congressional negotiations in this regard so far have failed. If DACA is eventually terminated, the almost 700,000 DACA beneficiaries, like Maria, will once again be in an immigration limbo.

The bottom line is: if you are DACA recipient and if you are eligible to renew your DACA benefits, you may want to do so now before USCIS stops accepting DACA renewal applications at any moment.

Source consulted: Kurzban, Ira J., Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook 1539 et seq. (15th ed. 2016).




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