In June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Due to the importance of this program and the grounds of the Supreme Court decision, some explanations are appropriate in order to prevent misunderstanding of the legal impact of this decision, especially as it applies to decisions that you may have to make.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does the Supreme Court’s DACA decision obligate the Trump Administration to continue offering DACA benefits indefinitely?
No, it doesn’t. The Supreme Court’s DACA decision was based on procedural grounds. All of the justices agreed that the Trump administration has the authority to rescind DACA, as long as it follows proper procedures to demonstrate that its decision was not arbitrary.
DACA was originally initiated by the Obama administration via executive order. Because DACA is an executive order, not a Congressional statute, the chief executive (the President) has the authority to reverse it at any time, even if it was originally issued by his predecessor. This is what gives the Trump administration the legal right to rescind DACA.
Can the Trump administration try again to rescind DACA?
Yes, it can, unfortunately. Moreover, its rescission will probably withstand any further Supreme Court scrutiny, as long as the administration repairs the procedural problems that led the Supreme Court to reject the rescission in the first place.
Repairing these procedural defects should be well within the capabilities of the President’s legal team. Furthermore, President Trump himself has indicated that he will try again to rescind DACA.
I currently enjoy DACA benefits. When should I file my renewal application?
If your status expires within the next eight months, you should submit a renewal application (USCIS Form I-821D) as soon as you can. Otherwise, speak with a qualified immigration attorney.
I currently enjoy DACA benefits, and I submitted a renewal application. In light of the recent Supreme Court Decision, do I need to do anything more to obtain the renewal?
No, there is nothing more you need to do unless you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from the USCIS. Although renewal applications are supposed to typically take about three months to process, they can take much longer to process.
I do not have DACA, but I would have been eligible if the program had not ended in 2017. In light of the Supreme Court’s June 2020 decision, can I apply for DACA now?
Although you should be able to apply for DACA on the basis of the Supreme Court decision, it would be best to act promptly. Since the Trump administration has announced its intention to try again to rescind DACA, the fate of your application will be particularly uncertain if you have never had DACA at any time in the past.
How much is the DACA renewal application fee?
The current fee is $495. Be advised that this amount is subject to revision at any time and that if it is revised, it will probably be revised upward. The Trump administration has proposed raising the renewal fee to $765.
I previously enjoyed DACA benefits, but my status expired after I failed to file a renewal application. Can I renew my status now?
Yes, you can. The exact process, however, will depend on how long ago your status expired. If it has been less than a year, you can file a basic application. If it has been more than a year, you can file a new application, which will require you to include all of the information that was included in your original DACA application.
I previously enjoyed DACA benefits, but my renewal application was denied. Would it be worth it for me to try again?
It all depends on the grounds for the denial of your renewal application. If your application was denied because you were convicted of a serious criminal offense, for example, a second renewal application will likely fail.
If your denial was based on a technicality, such as failure to include a necessary document that you have access to now, then you should definitely apply to renew your status.
DACA Renewal Processing Delays
Reports abound of significant delays in the processing of DACA renew applications, to the point that a lawsuit has been filed over the issue. Currently, DACA renewal applications are being handled by three USCIS service centers.– the California Service Center, the Nebraska Service Center, and the Vermont Service Centers. Processing times vary significantly among these service centers. The California Service Center is currently by far the slowest.
You can check your case status online. You will need the receipt number for your DACA application or your employment authorization application, which you should have received soon after you submitted your application for renewal. Check your status regularly.