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Trump Administration Further Limits DACA, Despite Federal Court Order to Restore

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the Trump Administration’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, recounted in our blog. After the administration failed to implement the Supreme Court decision, a federal court in Maryland issued an order effectively restoring DACA. The district court order should have meant U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would begin accepting new, first time DACA applications.

However, to the great disappointment of immigration advocates, on July 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf issued a policy memorandum, which states the agency will now reject any initial DACA applications.

Under this new memorandum, effective immediately, DHS will now:

  • Reject all pending, as well as future, first time DACA applications;
  • Only grant renewals of DACA and associated work authorization for one year (instead of two); and
  • Reject all pending and future advance parole applications (Form I-131) unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Importantly, DHS admitted in yesterday’s memo that the agency had been holding initial DACA applications since the June Supreme Court decision “in anticipation of potential policy changes.” In addition, since July 24, the agency began holding all advance parole requests.

What will happen to my pending initial DACA or advance parole application?

Effective immediately with the issuance of the July 28memo, DHS states they will reject any initial DACA applications and Advance Parole applications that are pending, and they will refund associated fees.

What will happen to my pending DACA renewal application?

Any DACA renewal applications that are pending (as well as future renewal applications) will now be limited to a one-year renewal period.

I already have a two-year renewal, will it be reduced?

If you are already in a two-year renewal period, DHS indicated they would not retroactively reduce your renewal period. In addition, if you already have an approved advance parole, this memo should not affect its validity period.

What happens next?

In a press release yesterday, DHS stated they are making these changes due to their “serious concerns with the policy,” and that the agency will “take action to thoughtfully consider the future of the DACA policy, including whether to fully rescind the program.”

Undoubtedly, rejected initial DACA applications will spur new litigation against the Trump Administration for defying the Supreme Court and lower court orders. These cases, however, will not likely be resolved before the November election, and many immigration advocates believe DHS intends to rescind DACA after the election should Trump be re-elected.

At David F. Vedder, P.A., we are Board-Certified in Immigration & Nationality Law, and we have handled more than 11,000 cases in our 40+ years of practice. We are adept at navigating new policies and regulations, and we can help you understand the implications of the recent DACA decisions.

You can now text us directly from our website! Visit our website at https://www.theimmigrationfirm.us/ and look for the “How Can We Help? / Text Us!”
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