On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s effort to end the DACA program, an Obama-era immigration program that offers legal protections to young immigrants brought to the United States as children. You might be asking yourself, what does the supreme court DACA decision mean?
The court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), which sets out rulemaking procedures for federal agencies. In short, the Court held that by ending the program and working to remove those who were protected under DACA, the government did not consider what impact that decision would have on DACA recipients who have relied on the program and “whether to retain forbearance” or the non-enforcement of immigration laws to remove those with DACA protection.
What Does the Supreme Court DACA Decision Mean?
The decision is a ray of hope for people who are protected under the DACA program – for now, it appears that the program will continue at least in the short term. However, there are still questions about what this decision will mean going forward. Here are some questions we’ve been asked and our responses:
I am currently protected under DACA and have my work permit. Does this decision change anything?
No. If you currently have DACA status then all protections from deportation are still in place and you are still eligible to work.
However, the decision also means that at least in unless until the government takes any further action to end the DACA program, you can continue to renew your DACA.
If my DACA expired or is expiring, can I renew it?
Yes. Anybody who currently has DACA whose Employment Authorization Document (“EAD” or “work permit”) is due to expire is eligible to renew. We recommend you file to renew as soon as possible.
I qualify for DACA, but I never filed a DACA application. Can I file one now?
Based on the Court’s opinion, it appears that you should be able to file an initial DACA application. This is because the Supreme Court opinion appears to stop the Trump administration’s effort to limit the DACA program to only renewals and to remove the option of applying for an advance parole travel document.
However, it is not clear at this time if USCIS will accept this as the meaning of the Court’s opinion. How initial DACA applications might be accepted and/or processed by USCIS remains unclear. If you believe that you may be eligible for DACA, you should speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney to determine how best to submit your application and to explore any other options you may have.
If I currently have DACA, can I now apply for an advance parole travel document?
Possibly. Many have observed that the Court’s decision appears to stop the government’s efforts to end the DACA program and to limit the DACA program to renewals of DACA protection and work permits only. That would mean that people who qualified for DACA but never filed can still file initial DACA applications and people who want to apply for DACA-based Advance Parole travel documents can do so. However, at this time, we are waiting for instructions from USCIS on how to properly submit Advance Parole travel document applications for current DACA holders.
I currently have DACA. Are there any other options available for me?
Possibly. We often tell our prospective clients who consult with us that every case is different. People’s details and facts matter. If you’ve been the victim of a crime or have been exploited or trafficked, you may have additional immigration options. If you have family in the United States who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, you may also have other options. If an employer is interested in filing for you, you may be able to apply for permanent residence via your employer.
Since your specific background will affect your options, we strongly recommend that you speak with a Houston Lawyer for DACA experienced immigration attorney to find out if you qualify to file any other applications for legal status.