The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program went into effect in 2012 to provide a temporary reprieve from deportation to those who met certain eligibility criteria. DACA gave more than 800,000 young adults the opportunity to obtain a work permit, go to college, and even obtain professional licenses in some states. However, on September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the government was terminating DACA. That same day, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reject all initial DACA applications and applications for work authorizations received after September 5, 2017. She also ordered that all renewal applications received after October 5, 2017, be rejected.
It didn’t take long for multiple lawsuits challenging the new rules to be filed and two U.S. district courts went as far as halting the termination of DACA. After months of court battles, the USCIS is accepting DACA renewal applications as of August 2018. However, there are still some limitations and it’s important to understand the current state of DACA.
As of August 2019, USCIS is not accepting first-time applications for DACA or applications for DACA recipients for advance parole.
Can I Still Renew DACA in 2019?
If you were granted DACA at any point in time, you can submit an application to renew your DACA as long as you meet all the renewal requirements. This is what the National Immigration Law Center states about the renewal requirements:
- You must not have departed the U.S. on or after August 15, 2012, without first having been granted advance parole.
- You must have resided continuously in the U.S. from the time you submitted the initial request for DACA up until the present time.
- You must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and must not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
It’s important to keep in mind the process of renewing DACA is different if your DACA expired before September 15, 2016. In this case, you will have to fill out an application as if you are applying for the first time and that you meet all eligibility criteria
Right now, USCIS is accepting and processing DACA applications submitted by those with DACA that expires 150 days after they submit the application.
What You Should Know About DACA in 2019
Anyone interested in applying for a DACA renewal must understand the benefits and risks of applying too early. The USCIS could de-prioritize your application for whatever reason and your option to renew may end while you’re waiting for them to process it. If you apply early and are granted a renewal, your new work permit will expire two years after the application was approved but your old permit may not have expired.
This is why it’s so important to speak with an immigration attorney about your options and make sure you’re not applying at the wrong time. Submitting the right documents, filling out DACA renewal applications correctly, and making sure you meet all eligibility requirements can take time so it helps to have an experienced immigration attorney by your side. Laws keep changing and it can be difficult to find the most up-to-date information about DACA.
For the latest information about DACA, renewal applications, and other immigration questions, contact Greensboro’s trusted immigration lawyers at the office of Neelam Bhardwaj today.