USCIS Required to Accept New DACA Applications

On Dec. 4, 2020, in Batalla Vidal, et al. v. Wolf, et al. the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York required USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to again accept first-time DACA applications based on the terms of the DACA policy that were in effect prior to the Administration’s putative rescission of the DACA program on Sept. 5, 2017. USCIS is also now required to accept applications for advance parole and continues to accept DACA renewal requests. USCIS will be extending all one-year DACA approvals and employment authorization documents for two years.   

On Dec. 22, a federal judge is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legality of the DACA program in a case brought by the State of Texas. It could be many weeks from the date of the hearing until the judge issues a decision. However, USCIS is currently accepting initial applications for DACA.  

DACA enables certain people who came to the U.S. as children and meet several key guidelines to request consideration for deferred action. It allows non-U.S. citizens who qualify to remain in the country for two years, subject to renewal. Recipients are eligible for work authorization and other benefits and are shielded from deportation.   

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Immigrant Justice Program encourages individuals who may be eligible to file an initial DACA application to contact us for assistance as soon as possible. We continue our representation of individuals who are interested in renewing their DACA status and encourage those individuals to contact us as well. Thanks to a partnership with the Hispanic Federation, there are limited funds available to pay for DACA applications and renewals. Contact us at 800-247-1931.

You may be eligible for DACA if you meet the following requirements: 

  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; 
  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday; 
  • You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; 
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS; 
  • You had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; 
  • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and 
  • You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. 

As we look toward a new federal administration, we encourage those who can advocate for immigrant rights to contact your local representatives to show your continued support for DACA recipients, asylum seekers, and other immigrants in the United States. Let us celebrate this victory with continued activism and momentum into the new year.