On June 18, 2020 the Supreme Court issued a decision which, at least for the moment, saves the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But it is important that people understand what this decision does and does not say.
DACA Can Still End
First, the decision does not say that the current administration cannot end DACA. The decision only says that the way the administration tried to end DACA was so flawed that it does not comply with the law.
In the Court’s opinion, Chief Roberts wrote:
We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. The wisdom of those decisions is none of our concern. We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.
Which means that the DACA program could still end at some point in the future. In response, President Trump sent a tweet saying, “We will be submitting enhanced papers shortly in order to properly fulfill the Supreme Court’s ruling.”
What that means is that the administration is already trying to end DACA again. This time they hope to do so in a way that will comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.
First-time DACA Applications Will Be Denied
Second, the decision does not say that those who have never had DACA can apply for the first time. Right now all that is clear is that DACA as we know it now will continue for the time being. That means that those who already have DACA can renew it. But it does not mean that those who have never had DACA can apply for it now. Additionally, if you previously applied for DACA and your application was denied, you cannot apply again.
National Advocacy groups are urging those who have DACA to not apply for Advance Parole or permission to travel. It is better if you stay inside of the United States.
And for those who have never had DACA, do not apply now. Remember, a DACA application will include all of your contact information and will require you to have a digital scan of your face and your fingerprints taken at Immigration. Since Immigration will not accept new DACA applications, applying as a first-time DACA recipient is a deportation risk.
When should I renew my DACA?
You should renew your DACA no more than 150 days ahead of time. USCIS recommends that you submit your DACA renewal materials between 150-120 days before it expires.
The Future of DACA
While DACA is safe for now, we still do not know whether or not it will ultimately survive. It will take a long time before this case makes it back to the Supreme Court. So there is no need to panic. However, now would be a good time to start thinking about whether or not you qualify for another type of immigration status. For example, maybe a family member can petition for you.
Or if you have been the victim of a crime, you may qualify for U nonimmigrant status.
Talk to a good immigration attorney who can help you plan ahead and make a calm, informed decision.