In more DACA news, a District of Columbia federal district court ruled last week that the Department of Homeland Security’s rescission of the DACA program was arbitrary and capricious. As a consequence, the rescission has been set aside and the government has been ordered not only to accept renewal applications (which it is currently doing as a result of previous litigation) but also new applications for DACA. However, the court stayed the order for a period of 90 days to allow DHS an opportunity to better justify why its decision to end the program was lawful. So while this is a momentous development for Dreamers, any excitement over DACA’s resurrection should be tinged with a healthy dose of reality and a soupcon of skepticism. The door is still open for DHS to now legally insulate its reasoning and, in effect, close it for people who may have missed out on the chance to file initial applications. So, for the time being, no new DACA applications-applications being filed for the first time– will be accepted unless and until the stay is over and the Court has made a final determination as to the government’s reasoning. Additionally, while applicants who have previously held DACA status may currently submit renewal applications, this is only provisional relief in connection with pending litigation. If the courts ultimately rule in favor of the government, USCIS may stop accepting DACA applications altogether.
That being said, applicants intending on filing for DACA for the first time–if litigation goes against the government-need to carefully evaluate their eligibility. Especially in this climate of aggressive enforcement, individuals who have criminal arrests/convictions (as well as DWIs) need to be especially wary. If there are criminal, fraud, or national security issues, and DACA is denied, it is likely that USCIS will refer the case to ICE for further action. Moreover, DACA is a discretionary benefit: satisfying eligibility does not necessarily mandate approval.
For more information on DACA, and whether one should or should not file, please contact our office. The above is general information only and not to be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship, nor should it be relied upon as advice in lieu of consultation with an attorney.