On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court handed a decision invalidating the September 2017 Trump’s administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). After one month from the decision, on July 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Memorandum affecting more than 640,000 DACA recipients. The Memorandum states that it will begin to wind down legal protections for hundreds of thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. While it conducts a review of the program it will reject all initial DACA applications and will limit the protection for those renewing their DACA applications to one year, rather than two years.
1. What Does This New Policy Mean To The DACA Recipients?
Two categories of DACA recipients are affected: first, the current DACA recipients or those who are already receiving the DACA protections from June 2012 to the present; and second: new DACA applicants: those who became eligible beginning September 2017 were it not for Trump’s rescission.
For the first category, current DACA recipients: They will be limited to one year protection and one year employment authorization card instead of the usual 2 years. Furthermore, they will not be allowed to apply for advance parole.
For the second category, new DACA applicants who have been eligible for DACA are now prevented from applying for DACA protections because of the Trump administration’s recent policy memorandum. These are the thousands of young immigrants who have been waiting to qualify and apply for DACA protections.
2. What are the Administration’s reasons for limiting the applicability of DACA?
The reasons are stated in the DHS memorandum released: (1) Congress should have sole authority to resolve whether DACA should continue and (2) concerns about enforcement policy that enforcing the law against those in unlawful status will not be consistently exercised if it favors a group like the DACA population. These are all flimsy excuses that run contrary to vast majority of the Americans who support protection for these young immigrants. And more importantly, these reasons do not justify issuance of this policy that runs contrary to a judicial decision of the Supreme Court and that of the District court of Maryland requiring the USCIS to accept new DACA applications.
3. What steps should present and future DACA recipients take in view of this new policy?
In view of this policy, DACA recipients should be aware of the limitations of their protections which is only one year now, and that they should not allow their DACA protections and employment cards to expire. If their employment cards are expiring the DACA recipients should renew early. And for new DACA applicants, they should hold off to the filing of new applications until this policy is reversed or rescinded. For our readers, please contact your legislators to urge them to pass the The American Dream and Promise Act, a bill if enacted would result in a permanent fix to this issue of our Dreamers by creating a pathway to U.S. citizenship.