The dreaded March 5, 2018 DACA deadline lost much of its kick due to three federal court decisions in California, New York, and the District of Columbia, all holding that the program must stay in place at least for renewal applications while pending litigation in the federal courts continues. Most immigrants tracking the progress of DACA legislation breathed a sigh of relief with the passing of March 5th and the Supreme Court decision delay. But what actually happened with all that and what are the implications and the prospects ahead?
Here are some quick facts to help you navigate this confusing, ever-changing topic.
- Further bills and votes are on hold until Congress reconvenes for the fall session. This means that it will be late fall at the earliest before any new decisions are made.
- Ongoing litigation in the Circuit courts (including the 9th Circuit Appellate Court) that will likely end up going to the Supreme Court, further delays are quite likely.
The Good News
- Individuals already enrolled in DACA are eligible for reapplication and protected status renewal.
- Since February, 2018, USCIS began accepting DACA renewal applications and is handing out approvals.
- We are currently receiving approvals for renewal applications in less than two months.
- USCIS accepts renewal applications for all DACA recipients currently enrolled, regardless of future expiration date; i.e. even recipients with employment authorization valid until 2019 may renew.
- USCIS may begin accepting new DACA applications soon, if the Trump Administration fails to provide a valid and non-arbitrary reason for rescinding the program.
The Bad News
- Many newly eligible for DACA or who never submitted an application are still at risk because no new applications are being accepted.
- Though, we currently see quick approvals (less than two months), a delay is possible as the approval process can take up to 120 days, during which time, many DACA recipients will experience a lapse in legal status, educational opportunities, and work eligibility through no fault of their own. Even if the individual can prove that their reapplication is on file and in process, they are offered no protection from loss of employment, interruption of education, or deportation.
Because DACA carries such major implications for our families, our clients, and our community, we here at Castan & Lecca want to help you stay informed on the facts of the situation – good, bad, or ugly – in the middle of all the media spin and opinion. Always feel free to reach out and talk to one of our attorneys with your questions or concerns!