HomeAsian AmericansMajor Policy Change: DACA Accepting Renewals for Extending Protected Status
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Major Policy Change: DACA Accepting Renewals for Extending Protected Status

Protester at a DACA rally in San Francisco. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen.

Views From The Edge
By Ed Diokno

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, has resumed accepting renewal requests for deferred action, reports The Hill.

Due to a federal court order, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has started accepting the renewals after freezing applications when Donald Trump called for the end of the Obama-era program in September 2017.

The change by the USCIS comes four days after a federal judge in California temporarily blocked Trump’s order to end the DACA program for the young people who were brought into this country by their undocumented parents.

The decision could impact up to 800,000 DACA enrollees, including at least 13,000 Asian Americans. They have been living in uncertainty, unable to plan their future or live their lives since Trump declared the end of the DACA program over four months ago.

Trump ordered Congress to come up with legislation to protect this group of immigrants. However, the two parties are having trouble coming to an agreement, and Trump is blaming Democrats for the stall, reports CNN. Democrats said that a decision for DACA has to come before they can agree on the budget, which needs to be made by Jan. 19.

The sticking point is the Trump administration’s insistence that any deal on DACA must include funding for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, to which Democrats are adamantly opposed.

Following is the USCIS press release issued Saturday, Jan. 13, outlines the steps that need to be taken to renew a DACA application:

Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.  Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017. 

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under DACA may request renewal by filing Form I-821D (PDF)Form I-765 (PDF), and Form I-765 Worksheet (PDF), with the appropriate fee or approved fee exemption request, at the USCIS designated filing location, and in accordance with the instructions to the Form I-821D (PDF) and Form I-765 (PDF).  USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.  USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients. 

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.  Please list the date your prior DACA ended in the appropriate box on Part 1 of the Form I-821D.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or your DACA was previously terminated at any time, you cannot request DACA as a renewal (because renewal requests typically must be submitted within one year of the expiration date of your last period of deferred action approved under DACA), but may nonetheless file a new initial DACA request in accordance with the Form I-821D and Form I-765 instructions. To assist USCIS with reviewing your DACA request for acceptance, if you are filing a new initial DACA request because your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or because it was terminated at any time, please list the date your prior DACA expired or was terminated on Part 1 of the Form I-821D, if available.

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer a removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.  Further, deferred action under DACA does not confer legal status upon an individual and may be terminated at any time, with or without a Notice of Intent to Terminate, at DHS’s discretion.  DACA requests will be adjudicated under the guidelines set forth in the June 15, 2012 DACA memo (PDF)

Additional information will be forthcoming.

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