DHS issued a final rule set to preserve and fortify the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. The rule, finalized in late August of this year and set to go into effect on October 31, 2022, keeps the program largely in its original state. Until then, the status quo remains in effect; DACA renewal applications are still being processed, but new applications are on hold following a current injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Where Does DACA Stand Today?
DACA is an immigration policy enacted under Obama in 2012 that gives temporary reprieve to some undocumented workers who were brought here as children, many of whom are now adults. The program grants renewable two-year periods of deferred action from removal (deportation) as well as accompanying work permits. In the past several years, DACA has been in a state of flux; with no bipartisan compromise, the program’s future has been uncertain. In July 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas held that the DACA policy is illegally implemented and “created in violation of the law,” given that it was created as an executive branch memorandum. New DACA applications have been paused since. Earlier this month, an appellate court also ruled DACA to be “unlawful” and sent the case back to the lower court to decide the legality of the final rule.
What is the DACA Regulation (2022)?
DHS’ final DACA rule will largely codify provisions within the program as they were established in 2012. It:
- maintains the existing eligibility criteria for DACA
- keeps the existing process for DACA applicants to seek work authorization (and continues to couple the work authorization with the DACA application itself)
- affirms that DACA isn’t a form of lawful status, but rather a type of deferred action whereby recipients, like other deferred action recipients, are considered “lawfully present” for certain purposes
- clarifies that “expunged convictions, juvenile delinquency adjudications and immigration-related offenses characterized as felonies or misdemeanors under State laws” won’t automatically make a person ineligible for DACA status
- codifies that an initiation of removal proceedings does not end work authorization
Moving forward, changes to the DACA program — including expanding the parameters for eligibility — will require legislative action. Individuals are encouraged to speak with a DACA attorney to understand how to seek work authorization or any other related concerns.
DACA help available
Reeves Immigration Law Group has three offices across the United States dedicated to providing specialized legal services to the immigrant community. Their well-versed and experienced team of DACA attorneys advocate relentlessly for the needs of individuals and families. Please contact one of our attorneys today with any questions or to learn more about how the new DACA news may change the status of your DACA application or renewal.