Over 700,000 people who illegally entered the U.S. prior to June 2007 and prior to age 16 have been allowed to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA began offering two-year deferrals of removal to these people in 2012 with the option of renewal every two years. Since the program was ended by executive order in 2017 and then resumed by federal court orders in early 2018, many people on DACA status have been in limbo, wondering whether they may lose their DACA status and be deported.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed in various federal district courts seeking to keep the DACA program alive. Two district courts have ordered USCIS to accept DACA renewals, and USCIS has complied with these orders on a nationwide basis. However, a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court may be necessary to determine the ultimate fate of the DACA program. At this time, a Supreme Court ruling is not expected until the first quarter of 2020 at the earliest.
As of April 2019, USCIS is only accepting renewal requests from people who were previously granted DACA status. Anyone who was not previously approved for DACA is not eligible to newly apply for it.
People who were previously granted DACA status will have a form I-797, Notice of Action, showing their DACA expiration date as well as an employment authorization document with a similar (within a few weeks) expiration date.
DACA recipients whose status expired before September 5, 2016, are no longer eligible for renewal. However, they may file a “new request for DACA” form along with information about their prior DACA approval.
DACA recipients must remember that deferred action may be terminated at any time and that it does not currently provide any path to lawful permanent residence or citizenship.
If you currently have or previously had DACA status, you must pay attention to the expiration dates on both your DACA approval form and your work permit to ensure that you do not violate U.S. immigration laws. For assistance with DACA renewal and to discuss possible paths to citizenship, speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County immigration lawyer. Call Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 630-932-9100.
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