Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Legal Services

As of July 16, 2021, a federal judge issued a decision and permanent injunction in Texas v. United States. The judge decided that the DACA program is unlawful under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The Biden Administration has filed an appeal, but this means that for now, only renewal applications will be reviewed and receive approvals. 

Since December 4, 2020, USCIS started accepting initial DACA applications from first-time applicants, however, USCIS is no longer reviewing and approving first-time applications. Applications can still be filed, but it is important to speak to an attorney about the pros and cons of filing at this time.

First-time applicants may be eligible for DACA if you:

  1. Were born on or after June 16, 1981; 
  2. Came to the U.S. before you turned 16 years old;
  3. Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time you file your DACA application;
  5. Entered the U.S. without inspection, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated high school, or obtained a GED;
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; and
  8. Are at least 15 years old at the time you file your application unless you are or were in removal proceedings.

Here are additional key updates to the DACA program, as of July 16, 2021:

  • If your DACA expired: If you obtained DACA on or before July 16, 2021, and your DACA expired less than one year ago, you can still apply to renew. If it has been more than one year since your DACA expired, you are not eligible to file a renewal.
  • If your DACA was granted for one year, USCIS will automatically extend your DACA from one year to two years. Individuals who had their DACA applications processed after July 28, 2020, were issued DACA protection for one year, but now, after the recent federal court order, these DACA protections will automatically be extended to two years. Recipients should receive a notice from USCIS that indicates this extension of their DACA. 
  • USCIS will process Advance Parole requests for DACA recipients who can demonstrate they need to travel outside of the U.S. due to education, employment, or humanitarian reasons.

DACA recipients can apply for an international travel permit called “Advance Parole,” if they can show they need to travel for education, employment, or humanitarian reasons. It is important that you consult a legal advocate before you apply for and travel on Advance Parole to discuss any risks, including COVID-19 restrictions. Additional information regarding Advance Parole.

You can find up-to-date resources about DACA on the ILRC website. You can also check the NILC website or the NILC Twitter for the latest updates. 

Here are additional resources for first-time DACA applicants:

In need of immigration legal services that aren’t connected to DACA? Click here

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