On June 15, 2012, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, providing temporary relief from deportation (deferred action) and work authorization to certain young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. DACA has enabled almost 800,000 eligible young adults to work lawfully, attend school, and plan their lives without the constant threat of deportation, usually to an unfamiliar country.  Unlike federal legislation, however, DACA does not provide permanent legal status to individuals and must be renewed every two years.

On September 5, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke rescinded the 2012 DACA memorandum and announced a “wind down” of DACA. Effective immediately, no new applications for DACA would be accepted. DACA beneficiaries whose status was due to expire before March 5, 2018 were permitted to renew their status for an additional two years if they applied by October 5, 2017. Any person for whom DACA would have expired as of March 6, 2018, would no longer have deferred action or employment authorization.

On January 9, 2018, a federal judge in California blocked the Trump administration’s termination of DACA and continued to allow renewal requests. Similarly, on February 13, 2018, a federal judge in New York issued a preliminary injunction preventing the administration from abruptly ending the DACA program. As of June 2019, individuals with DACA or those who have had DACA in the past can continue to renew their benefits on a two-year basis. However, first-time applications are no longer being accepted.

The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule in November 2020 regarding the issue of whether or not the Trump Administration can end the DACA program.

In the event that the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Trump Administration and DACA ends, there are certain steps that can be taken at this time for an individual with DACA to prepare for the loss of DACA. Some of these steps include applying for lawful permanent residence based on a family-based petition, an employment-based petition, U visa, Asylum….


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