By now many of you have likely read in the news about the federal DACA ruling.
On September 13, 2023, a federal judge in Texas ruled in the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) case that has been in the federal court system since last year. Although there have been a few DACA cases in federal court, this case went to Court last year when a group of Republican-led states challenged the Biden Administration's efforts to codify DACA into law. The ruling stated that the DACA program is illegal, but keeps it intact for now for thousands of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.
Since 2012 DACA has shielded thousands from deportation and allowed them to be eligible for work authorization, as long as they were brought to the United States illegally before they turned 16, graduate from high school, and avoid felony convictions. But in 2021 a ruling by a federal judge in Texas stopped anyone new from enrolling in DACA, based on an argument that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn't follow the standard legal procedure for issuing federal rules when DACA was first created.
Why is DACA at risk?
DACA was started by President Obama in 2012 by executive order, and it shields an estimated 700,000 Dreamers from deportation and allows them to be eligible for work authorization, as long as they were brought to the United States illegally before they turned 16, graduate from high school, and avoid felony convictions.
Because DACA was created through executive order, its continuance exists at the whim of each presidential administration. The goal of immigration advocates is for DACA to be codified into law by Congress, so that it would be permanently protected.
What Does This Ruling Mean for My DACA Status?
It is very important that if you are a current DACA recipient you do not let your DACA status or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) lapse. USCIS announced that “Current valid grants of DACA and related EADs will continue to be recognized as valid under the Final Rule. This means that individuals with DACA and related EADs do not have to submit a request for DACA or employment authorization until the appropriate time to seek renewal.”
You should file to renew your DACA status at least 150 days prior to its expiration.
As we wait to find out the next outcome of this federal lawsuit, please reach out to your legislators on both sides of the aisle to tell them how important it is for Congress to pass permanent protection for DACA recipients! You can contact Virginia Senator Mark Warner here, and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine here.
If you have questions about your DACA status or need help filing a renewal please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.