DACA Program Saved for Now but Still Vulnerable
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has helped roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children remain and work in the country. The program, implemented by President Obama in 2012, has faced significant conservative pushback and consequent legal challenges throughout its existence. Because the program’s narrow eligibility requirements meant the pool of potential recipients was static, the Obama administration attempted to expand the program in 2014. The move was ultimately shot down by the courts, but the original DACA program was permitted to continue.
However, President Trump ordered the winding down and ultimate elimination of DACA in September of 2017. Though he offered a six-month grace period to allow Congress time to propose a more permanent legislative solution, the Republican-led bodies failed to act. The Trump administration’s shutdown was immediately challenged, reaching the Supreme Court for arguments in November of 2019.
Throughout the legal battle, DACA recipients and eligible immigrants have been unable to renew their status or file new applications. It was also unclear if they would remain protected from deportation proceedings.
On June 18, 2020, the Court delivered its ruling, deciding against the Trump administration in a 5-4 vote. Chief Justice John Roberts joined his liberal colleagues and authored the majority opinion, declaring the method in which President Trump attempted to end the DACA program “arbitrary and capricious” and therefore violating federal law on administrative procedures.
This decision results in the DACA program’s immediate restoration. DACA beneficiaries’ protections remain in place, new applications can be submitted, and renewals of status can be filed. The ability to travel abroad and return to the country remains in question.
It is crucial to understand that DACA remains vulnerable to new shutdown attempts. Chief Justice Roberts noted in his opinion that the Court was not ruling on the legality of the DACA program in principle but only on the manner in which the Trump administration attempted to end it. In fact, Roberts suggested President Trump could attempt to rescind the program in a legally acceptable way through executive action.
In other words, while DACA is restored for now, its long-term existence has not been protected by the Supreme Court. President Trump, or any future President, could mount another effort to rescind the program through executive action. Though Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden has indicated his support for the program, a legislative solution passed by Congress is the only permanent way to protect DACA beyond the whims of a White House occupant.
We Can Help You Act Now
If you believe you are eligible for DACA or are a current recipient needing to renew your status, you now have a potentially narrow window to act. While some hope President Trump will not make another effort to rescind DACA in an election year, the truth is there are no guarantees on what might happen next. We do know it is unlikely that a legislative solution will be passed this term, as the Republican-led Senate has shown little indication they are willing to address the program or its recipients.
This means the time to renew or apply for status is now. We at Colón Law are committed to fighting for the results you deserve in your DACA or broader immigration matter. If you are unsure if you qualify for DACA or need assistance preparing your application or renewal documents, we can help.
Do not delay in addressing your DACA eligibility. Call (864) 697-2870 or contact us online so we can help protect your future today.