Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications are once again being accepted by USCIS, in compliance with a United States District Court order. Hopefully, the Biden Administration, working with Congress, will be able to replace DACA with a permanent law in the coming year. The program has always been premised on an exercise of discretion by the Administration, but it has been a constant source of litigation. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been granted temporary work authorization, and given some stability to their lives. Employers have benefited, and many DACA recipients have been front-line service and health care workers during the pandemic. Much more can and has been said. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” goes the famous Martin Luther King quote. In law, justice usually considers the intention of the wrong-doer, and in the case of those meeting the criteria for DACA, there was never an intentional wrong-doing.
Here is the USCIS update on receiving applications:
In compliance with an order of a United States District Court, effective December 7, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is:
- Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
- Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.
USCIS will take appropriate steps to provide evidence of the one-year extensions of deferred action and employment authorization documents under DACA to individuals who were issued documentation on or after July 28, 2020, with a one-year validity period under the defunct policy.
DHS will comply with the order while it remains in effect, but DHS may seek relief from the order.