On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful. This is a huge victory for our clients and community! DACA recipients continue to be protected from deportation and eligible for benefits such as work authorization. Please read EBCLC’s statement about the DACA decision and our commitment to undocumented community members for more information about our next steps.
While the SCOTUS decision should have restored the DACA program in its entirety, a recent announcement by the Trump administration has substantially limited the program, as announced in a July 28, 2020 Memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). However, on November 14, 2020, a federal district court found that this memorandum was issued without legal authority, invalidating the Trump administration’s attempt to restrict DACA. This is a big win! You can read more about the legal case and the latest developments on the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) website here and here.
We expect the federal district court to issue a ruling shortly after December 1, 2020, requiring the DHS to take specific action on DACA. The DHS should—but has not yet been ordered to—restore DACA entirely, including reopening DACA to first-time applicants, granting two years of DACA and work authorization to DACA recipients, and making Advance Parole available without restrictions to DACA recipients. For now (as of November 19, 2020), there are no immediate changes to DACA processing, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will:
- Reject all first-time DACA applications from individuals who have not received DACA in the past;
- Reject all advance parole applications from current DACA recipients except where there are “exceptional circumstances”; and
- Shorten the DACA renewal and work authorization period from two years to one year. Individuals who currently have DACA or had DACA at some point in the past may continue to renew their DACA and work authorization, but will need to renew annually.
There will be changes to the DACA program in the upcoming months. Check back for updates. You can also check the NILC website or the NILC Twitter for the latest updates. Click here for the latest DACA Frequently Asked Questions (August 2020) from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC). Click here for the latest DACA Frequently Asked Questions (August 2020).
In the recorded webinar above, Ramon Becerra Alcantar and Melissa Phatharanavik of East Bay Community Law Center’s Immigration Clinic fill you in about the current status of DACA. This video was recorded in September 2020. This video is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about your individual situation, please see information below how to make an appointment.
Who should apply for DACA?
Current DACA Recipients: If your DACA is expiring within six months, renew your DACA now. If your DACA is expiring more than six months from now, keep in mind that at this time renewals will only be granted for a one-year period, so speak to a legal service provider about the pros and cons of renewing more than six months in advance. If you are eligible for EBCLC services, contact EBCLC to renew your DACA. See “How do I get help to apply for DACA?” below for information about how to contact us.
Individuals with Expired DACA: You can still apply for DACA. If your DACA expired more than one year ago, you must complete the application as if it were your first time applying.
First-Time DACA Applicants: All eligible individuals should speak to a legal advocate about applying for DACA for the first time. As of November 19, 2020, first-time DACA applications are not currently being accepted—but we expect this to change in the upcoming months and are waiting for guidance from USCIS. In general, it is always a good idea for undocumented individuals to be screened for DACA and other immigration remedies. You may be eligible to apply for DACA in the future if you:
- Were born on or after June 16, 1981;
- Came to the U.S. before you turned 16 years old;
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time you file your DACA application;
- Entered the U.S. without inspection, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated high school, or obtained a GED;
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanor; and
- Are at least 15 years old at the time you file your application, unless you are or were in removal proceedings.
How do I get help to apply for DACA?
If you are a UC Berkeley student: click here to make an appointment with an EBCLC legal advocate.
If you are a student at Chabot College, Laney College, Merritt College, or College of Alameda: click here to make an appointment with an EBCLC legal advocate.
If you are a current client of EBCLC (meaning you have an application currently pending with us): please contact your caseworker; email@example.com; or (510) 548-4040 ext. 395.
If you are a former client of EBCLC: please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 548-4040 ext. 395.
If you do not fall in one of the above categories: below is a list of legal service providers you can reach out to:
- East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (Berkeley)
- Oasis Legal Services (Berkeley) (services for LGBTQ+ immigrants)
- Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (Oakland)
- Bay Area Legal Aid (Oakland) (services for domestic violence survivors only)
- Catholic Charities of the East Bay (Oakland)
- Centro Legal de la Raza (Oakland)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (Oakland)
- Immigration Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA) (Oakland)
- Transgender Law Center (TLC) (Oakland)
- Korean Community Center of the East Bay (San Leandro)
- Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the East Bay (Walnut Creek)
For more referrals, please see the National Immigration Legal Services Directory and the California Department of Social Services’ list of immigration legal service providers.
You can find EBCLC’s list of referrals here
Additional information and resources
- Follow DACA updates from the National Immigration Law Center here.
- Click here for the latest DACA Frequently Asked Questions (August 2020).
- Read the full SCOTUS DACA decision here.
- Read ILRC’s summary of the SCOTUS DACA decision here.
- Visit the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC) Facebook for video discussion in Spanish about the U.S. Supreme Court’s DACA decision: https://www.facebook.com/CviicFresno/