20 Jul 2021 DACA Update: USCIS Posts Guidance On Processing Applications
As I reported in a previous article, on July 16, 2021, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was illegal. He issued a preliminary injunction, blocking the approval of any new applications. Fortunately, he did not call for a complete and immediate end to DACA but instead allowed those who obtained DACA on or before July 16, 2021 to renew their DACA requests.
He instructed USCIS to post on its website guidance or instructions regarding the handling of DACA applications in light of his ruling, and USCIS has done so.
The new policy on processing DACA applications, in light of this injunction, is:
- New and renewal DACA applications (and work authorizations) may be filed.
- New/initial DACA requests cannot be granted.
- Renewals of DACA obtained before 7/16/21 may be processed and granted according to existing policy.
As stated by USCIS: “Consistent with this order, DHS will continue to accept the filing of both initial and renewal DACA requests, as well as accompanying requests for employment authorization. However, pursuant to the July 16, 2021 order from the Southern District of Texas, DHS is prohibited from granting initial data requests and accompanying requests for employment authorization. Also consistent with that order, DHS will continue to grant or deny renewal DACA requests, according to existing policy.”
In other words, current DACA recipients would not be immediately affected or have their grant of DACA taken away. They may also renew their current DACA application. But if a person is filing for DACA for the first time, they can file the application and pay the filing fee, but USCIS will just sit on it, while this case is on appeal.
We will continue to monitor developments concerning DACA and keep you posted. But the real solution is for Congress to act and pass the DREAM Act, rather than relying on the president to provide temporary fixes through executive action. The Constitution states that Congress, not the president, is to make laws concerning immigration. So, urge your senator or member of Congress to act now!
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