“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” commonly known as DACA, is a program launched by the Obama administration. Broadly speaking, it protects immigrants who entered the United States as minors from deportation and grants them a work permit. To qualify, applicants must not have a criminal history
The actions of the previous administration
Former President Trump announced a plan to discontinue DACA in September 2017. In response to this, several lawsuits were filed that had different effects in different district courts.
Finally, in the middle of 2020, the Supreme Court determined that the attempt to end DACA violated federal law and ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to consider applications from new applicants.
What is the situation today?
In December of 2020, in response to an order from a U.S. district court, the USCIS announced that it will once again be:
- Accepting initial requests for DACA
- Accepting DACA renewal requests
- Accepting requests for advance parole documents
- Extending employment authorizations valid from one year to two years
At the end of the statement, the agency reserved its right to seek a relief from the court order, but promised to comply with it while it remains in effect.
What is expected of the Biden administration?
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that between September 2017 and July 2020, around half a million young people who could have applied for benefits through the DACA program could not do so.
On President Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order to preserve and fortify DACA. Clearly, President Biden’s policies are on track to be more pro-immigrant than those of the last president.
If you were directly affected by the DACA changes during the past administration, the prognosis is positive for the current presidency. Considering that most of the previous administration’s anti-immigrant decisions were made by executive order, the rescindment of these is a safe projection. Another less certain, but possible, prediction is that Biden will enact a more permanent and comprehensive solution for you and other “dreamers” that will pave the way to eventual citizenship.