History of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Since its founding, the United States has prided itself on being a melting pot of immigrants from throughout the world. In 2012, the Obama administration issued an executive order implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA sought to protect our rich history of immigration by conferring benefits and rights to unauthorized immigrants who had arrived to the United States as children. These immigrants, often referred to as Dreamers, are granted a two-year deferral from deportation. This deferral period is renewable and provides eligibility for a valid work permit during the two-year period.

On September 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Trump administration announced that DACA had been rescinded. In this announcement, DHS and the Attorney General stated that DACA was illegal. As a result, new Dreamers could no longer apply for DACA benefits and then current DACA recipients could not renew their two-year deferral period.

Immediately, several individuals and groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, questioned the decision to rescind DACA. In legal challenges throughout the nation, three separate courts ruled that DHS had illegally rescinded the DACA program. These courts stated that DHS had failed to follow the proper procedure for ending an administrative program. As a result, the Government filed a petition for these decisions to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the decision of these previous courts. The Supreme Court stated that DHS and the Trump administration had not offered sufficient reasoning, as mandated by law, to properly rescind DACA and prevent Dreamers from seeking temporary deferral from deportation.

What Does This Mean for DACA Recipients?

At the present, current Dreamer recipients can renew their two-year deferral period. However, the long-term future of both new and current Dreamers is still in limbo. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, the justices chose not to rule on the legality of DACA itself. Instead, the Supreme Court stated that the Trump administration could legally end DACA, in the future, if it went through the proper procedure. Whether the administration will choose to make this decision or, if they decide to do so, will be able to accomplish a rescission before the upcoming election, is unknown.

At the moment, it is unclear as to whether new applications are currently being accepted. However, as always, the attorneys at Greenwood Law are here to answer any questions you might have about your DACA eligibility or the process by which you can renew your deferral period. Feel free to contact Greenwood Law at 336-794-6138 or visit our online contact form.