This past Friday, (December 4) Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York ruled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must begin accepting new applications, renewals, and advanced parole requests under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The DACA program was created in 2012 under the Obama Administration and it allows undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. as children to apply for temporary protection against deportation and a work permit. DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young immigrants do basic things like get driver’s licenses, apply for college, and work with authorization. 

This recent ruling fully reinstates the DACA program as it was before the Trump Administration tried to, once again, unlawfully terminate it following the Supreme Court decision this summer. Judge Garaufis ordered DHS to post a public notice of acceptance of new cases by Monday, December 7th, and this was done yesterday on the USCIS’ website

The ruling sets aside a memorandum issued by Chad Wolf in July, which directed DHS to reject any initial DACA applications and shorten DACA work permits from two years validity to one year. Judge Garaufis ruled that Wolf’s memorandum was issued without proper legal authority, as Wolf was not “lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security.”  

The ruling orders DHS to notify all class members (all individuals who are/will be eligible for DACA, and those who have initial or renewal applications pending) by mail of the decision by December 31, and produce a report detailing the status of the DACA program.  The report, which is due January 4, 2021, must include “the number of first-time requests, renewal requests, and applications for advance parole received, adjudicated, approved, denied, and rejected from November 14 until December 31, 2020; and the number of first-time requests, renewal requests, and applications for advance parole that were processed according to the terms of the Wolf memo.”

According to the Migration Policy Institute, the decision means that approximately 1.3 million people nationwide who could have become eligible for DACA in the past three years before it was unlawfully terminated, could soon apply for the protection. 

If you think you might be eligible for DACA, either an initial application or renewal, we encourage you to talk with an immigration attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced immigration team is here to help you with your DACA case, so please don’t hesitate to contact us

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