by Caroline Lee Caroline Lee No Comments

The Uncertain State of DACA

If you find yourself confused about what’s happening with the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, you’re not alone. The program has been the subject of judicial whiplash for years, amid threats of its termination, and its future remains uncertain.

The DACA program, which provides protection against removal and deportation for people who arrived in the U.S. as children and who currently lack legal status, was created by executive policy under the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration rescinded the DACA memo after concluding that implementation of the program was inconsistent with the Constitution’s separation of powers. The Supreme Court then heard challenges to the rescission of the DACA program and found that the Trump administration had not properly rescinded the program. DACA survived termination for the time being.

Under the Biden administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun the formal rulemaking process to codify DACA under federal regulation, making it less susceptible to legal challenges. At the same time, the program remains involved in litigation to determine whether its implementation is consistent with immigration law. Currently, the program is before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas, to whom the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the decision to consider the impact of the Biden Administrations DACA regulations on the program’s legality.

While the program is entrenched in litigation, DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to accept and process applications for deferred action, work authorization, and advance parole for current DACA recipients. Due to an injunction from the ongoing litigation, however, USCIS will accept but cannot process initial DACA requests. DACA recipients remain eligible for Advanced Parole travel authorization in limited circumstances.

Do you have questions about the DACA program? Reach out to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!

by CYA CYA No Comments


On January 22, 2019, the Washington Post and Politico reported that the Supreme Court is unlikely to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) this term.  The 9th Circuit blocked the Trump administration from ending DACA, and SCOTUS’ decision not to intervene this term preserves the status quo.  This means the Trump administration is required to continue accepting renewals, but not new applications to the DACA program.

The Trump administration moved to end the Obama-era program in 2017, but the 9th Circuit rejected the administration’s theory that DACA was unlawful and kept the program in place.  Those individuals who have been approved for the program are protected from deportation and allowed work permits so long as they follow its regulations and do not violate laws.

Notably, the 9th Circuit opinion did not rule that DACA could not be rescinded as an exercise of executive power, but only that the decision to end DACA was based on an erroneous view of what the law required.

Based on the high Court’s normal procedures, even if it accepts the case at a later date, it would not be argued until the new term starts in October, with a decision likely in 2020

by CYA CYA 470 Comments

New Dream Act of 2017 Introduced in the Senate and the House

On July 20, 2017, Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durban (D-IL) introduced a bipartisan bill entitled the Dream Act of 2017. On July 26, 2017, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lucille Roybal-Allard introduced the House version to the House of Representatives.

This Dream Act is not the first immigration reform attempt relating to DREAMers. Versions have been introduced over the past years but have never passed.

The Dream Act of 2017 would allow young people brought to the U.S. as children to apply for lawful permanent residence, if they meet certain requirements. Some of the qualifications include:

  1. Long-term residency in the U.S. since childhood
  2. Graduation from high school or receipt of a GED
  3. Pursuance of higher education, lawful employment for at least 3 years, or service in the military
  4. Passing background checks
  5. Demonstrated proficiency in English and a knowledge of U.S. history
  6. No convictions for felonies or other serious crimes

If passed, it would likely provide a pathway to citizenship for many of the 600,000 young people who are currently registered under DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The one-page description of the proposed Senate Bill can be found here. A section by section outline can be found here.

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 93 Comments

DAPA and Expanded DACA Case to be Heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18, 2016

United States v. Texas, the lawsuit filed by 26 states against President Obama’s DAPA and Expanded DACA immigration reform programs, has been officially scheduled for oral argument before the United States Supreme Court on April 18, 2016.  This lawsuit was filed 16 months ago after President Obama used his executive powers to order the creation of DAPA and Expanded DACA, programs that expanded eligibility requirements for the DACA program and allowed undocumented parents of citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for work authorization and protection from deportation.  The 26 states, led by Texas, argue that the President’s implementation of these programs through executive action was unconstitutional and that he bypassed federal procedure for changing the law.  The United States Supreme Court will consider these questions during oral argument on April 18, 2016 and could issue a decision on this case as early as June 2016.

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 24 Comments

United States Supreme Court Will Hear Case on President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration

The United States Supreme Court announced that it has granted the petition for writ of certiorari to hear Texas v. United States, the lawsuit that has stalled President Obama’s executive action programs of DAPA and Expanded DACA from taking effect. The Court is expected to answer the question of whether the President’s executive orders violated the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution at Article II Section III. The Take Care Clause commands that the President take care that the laws of this country be faithfully executed. This ruling will determine the ultimate fate of the President’s long-anticipated programs and will be a key decision in this presidential election year during which immigration is such a hotly debated topic.

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 96 Comments

Court of Appeals Denies Obama’s DAPA and Expanded DACA Programs

In a divided decision the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction stopping President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Expanded DACA programs from being implemented.  These programs, which were first introduced by the President approximately a year ago, would have granted temporary relief from removal to as many as 5 million non-citizens present in the United States without permission.  This ruling upholding the injunction means that these programs permanently will not be implemented unless the Obama Administration requests that the United States Supreme Court hear the arguments in this case. As of today, the Obama Administration has not confirmed whether or not they plan to appeal this decision.

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 410 Comments

Appeals Court Denies Stay in Exective Action Lawsuit

President Obama’s latest executive actions on immigration will remain on hold after a federal appeals court refused to lift an injunction on the two executive orders.

The first order would have implemented Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). The plan would allow parents of US citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and apply for work authorization for three years provided they have resided in the US continuously for the past five years and pass a background check. The second order would have expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to include childhood arrivals who were 31 years of age or older when DACA was initially announced, as well as extending the period of work authorization under DACA from two years to three years. DAPA was scheduled to take effect in February, while the DACA expansion was scheduled to take effect this month. Combined, the plans would affect an estimated 4.7 million undocumented immigrants.

Twenty six states filed suit challenging the executive orders as an unconstitutional overreach of presidential power, and a US district judge issued the injunction in February when he sided with the states in the suit. The injunction is now likely to remain in place for the duration of the federal government’s appeal.  The court ruling does not affect the existing DACA program, which will continue to accept requests and issue deferred action and work authorization.

by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 103 Comments

DACA Recipients in Arizona Get In-State Tuition

A judge in Maricopa County Arizona recently ruled that DACA recipients should be eligible to receive in-state tuition at Arizona colleges.  After this ruling, the Arizona State Board of Regents announced that DACA recipients are eligible for in-state tuition rates at public universities.  This change is being implemented immediately and represents a significant commitment to access to more affordable higher education.  Currently more than 23,000 immigrants in Arizona have received DACA status since the program was initiated in 2012.


by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 222 Comments

Highlights from President Obama’s Executive Action Immigration Reform

Last night President Obama implemented sweeping immigration reform.  The President’s reforms will impact many areas of immigration, such as immigration courts and deportations, border security, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applicants, parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, foreign students studying in the U.S., spouses of H-1B visa holders, and U.S. businesses, foreign investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, and highly skilled workers.

As noted on the USCIS website, highlights of President Obama’s Immigration reform plan include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Broadening eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people who came to this country before turning 16 years-old and who have been present since January 1, 2010. Also, extending the period of DACA and work authorization to three years;
  • Enabling parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the United States since January 1, 2010, to apply for deferred action and employment authorization for three years, so long as they pass a background check;
  • Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Modernizing and improving immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow the economy and create jobs.  Reform in this area may involve changes to the visa bulletin system, National Interest Waivers, and expansion of OPT for foreign students; and
  • Providing work authorization to spouses of H-1B visa holders.

The details of these reforms are currently being formulated by U.S. government agencies.  At present, most details and specifics of the President’s reforms are unknown and will be unveiled in the coming months.

Anyone who believes they may benefit from these reforms, please contact our office to set up a consultation.






by SCwpadmin SCwpadmin 389 Comments

First DACA Recipients Eligible for Renewal

This summer will mark two years since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program first began. The first DACA recipients now have the opportunity to apply for a renewal of deferred action. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has released a notice regarding the renewal process specifically for  applicants who applied between June 15, 2012 and August 15, 2012.

Renewal applications for another two-year period of deferred action must include Forms I-821D and I-765, along with the filing fee for the I-765 Employment Authorization Document. The original requirements for eligibility are still in place and renewal of deferred action remains at the discretion of USCIS.

It is important to note that if an applicant’s period of deferred action expires before they receive a renewal of deferred action, they will begin to accrue unlawful presence. They will not be eligible to work during any lapse in deferred action. In order to avoid a lapse, the government recommends applying for a renewal 120 days  before the current expiration of deferred action.

Individuals who applied on or after August 15, 2012 must wait for USCIS to issue a notice regarding the renewal process for their group.  Such guidance is anticipated in the coming months.