When the Biden Administration took charge, a lot of young, undocumented people in this country felt a renewed sense of hope that they’ll be able to continue living their lives in the only homeland they have ever known.
Over a year later, more than 650,000 young people known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients or “Dreamers” are still waiting to see what’s going to happen in their future.
Dreamers have suffered in the wake of political changes
The DACA program was created in 2012 under President Obama as a way to prevent the deportation of immigrants who were brought to this country as children without the proper paperwork.
The protection didn’t provide a path to citizenship, but it did protect them for two years at a time (upon their renewal) from deportation. It also made it possible for these young immigrants to legally work, obtain an education and get health insurance.
When President Trump took office, new applications for DACA were halted. However, President Biden promised to make reforming DACA and helping Dreamers gain citizenship a priority.
However, a federal judge declared the entire DACA program unlawful in mid-2021, stating that it was created without due authority. Although the ruling doesn’t immediately affect the program, the net result is the same for every Dreamer: There are still major blockades in their immigration journey.
Is the Department of Homeland Security still accepting DACA applications?
Right now, applications for both initial and renewal DACA status can still be filed, but as of July 16, 2021 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is barred from approving any initial DACA requests and accompanying requests for employment authorization.
DHS will continue to grant or deny DACA renewal requests, and those already in the DACA program will retain their protections, for now.
Is USCIS still granting Advance Parole for DACA recipients?
Yes, for those already in the DACA program, DHS will continue to grant or deny advance parole requests. Advance parole is used when a DACA holder needs to travel abroad. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will only approve travel for DACA recipients who demonstrate that their need for travel is for “humanitarian, education, or employment” purposes. If you travel outside the United States without first receiving advance parole, USCIS will automatically terminate your DACA.
The dream isn’t over for DACA recipients (and hopeful DACA recipients). However, now more than ever, it’s wise to have experienced legal guidance by your side.