Those that have been following DACA developments are aware that on June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision finding that DHS did not properly go about terminating DACA. As such, the Court required that DHS permit DACA to continue as it was before termination. For days/weeks since the Supreme Court’s decision, USCIS made no changes on their website, nor did they clarify through any memorandums, whether they would now be taking new applications for DACA. Most practitioners believed that the Supreme Court decision required USCIS to continue accepting renewal requests as well as new applications. However, on June 28, 2020, Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued a memorandum taking a much different perspective.
The following are highlights from the July 28, 2020 memo:
- No NEW DACA applications will be accepted for consideration. Those that have already filed, their filings will be REJECTED and the fees will be returned.
- No Advance Parole Applications (travel authorizations) will be accepted for filing absent EXCEPTIONAL circumstances.
- Pending and future DACA RENEWAL requests and Employment Authorization documents will be granted in ONE-YEAR increments.
- USCIS will continue to (on a case-by-case basis) terminate and deny DACA requests based on their discretion.
At this point, it is unknown when and if DACA will be completely terminated through another attempt by DHS. It is important to note that the Supreme Court ruled only that the way in which DACA was ended (DHS did not follow notice/publication/procedural guidelines) was unlawful; they did NOT rule that DHS could not end DACA. As such, DHS certainly can attempt to terminate DACA completely.
Although this position by DHS is unfortunate, we do expect this to be the subject of litigation as it is contrary to what many practitioners and hopeful first-time applicants were expecting in light of the Supreme Court ruling. Moreover, in the event there is a new administration (Joe Biden) in office come January 2020, it is possible that this position on DACA may be very short-lived. Vice President Joe Biden has indicated that immigration policies and legislation were first on his agenda if he is voted in office this upcoming term. If so, given his sentiments on DACA and immigration policy as a whole, DACA may even be expanded to cover more individuals.
We will certainly provide updates on this issue as they develop.
-JEELANI LAW FIRM, PLC