The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is accepting new DACA applications. Here's what you should know.
Was DACA Revoked?
In 2017, the Trump Administration issued an order to cease all protections for children in the DACA program. Ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was a part of the Trump Administration's plan to "put the hardworking citizens of our country first."
Many supporters of this decision believed that former President Barack Obama overextended the reach of the executive branch by circumventing immigration laws. On multiple occasions, the Trump Administration also stated that DACA denied jobs to American citizens in favor of giving them to illegal immigrants.
Immigrant advocacy groups vehemently disagreed with the Administration's decision and openly protested against it. Members of the Democratic party called the decision "cruel" and voiced their dissent on the Congressional floor.
Their efforts were not in vain. The Supreme Court voted in 2020 that the Trump Administration did not have the power to revoke DACA and used improper procedure to force their hand. However, the Supreme Court did not decide whether the DACA program is lawful and neglected to say whether the program could end in the future.
The Biden Administration has made incredible strides in its first 100 days to reform the immigration system. As a part of their efforts, President Biden has proposed the DREAM Act of 2021, which includes further protections for undocumented children in the DACA program.
The USCIS has also opened up new DACA applications to provide temporary protected status for these children until they can get more permanent immigration status. There will also be a one-year extension of deferred action and one-year employment authorization documents for immigrants already in the DACA program.
Applying for DACA
Now that DACA is officially up and running again, more immigrants are eligible to apply.
To apply for DACA, you must:
- Provide proof of identity: passports, school or military I.D., any U.S. government-issued I.D.
- Provide proof that you came to the U.S. before your 16th birthday
- Provide evidence of continuous residence since June 15, 2007
Once you have collected the necessary documentation, you will need to file Form I-812D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. You must use the most recent version to apply.
In addition to Form I-821D, the USCIS will need Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-7675WS, Worksheet. Mail all three forms and the necessary documentation to the USCIS.
The USCIS will not accept your application if any information is missing or incorrect. You should speak to an immigration attorney before applying to make sure you are following the protocols.
- If you are in detention and you believe you meet the qualifications for DACA, identify yourself to your I.C.E. officer. Individuals in I.C.E. custody must apply through I.C.E., not the USCIS.
- If you are seeking to renew your deferred action, you may qualify if you were under 15 when you first submitted your application.
- The USCIS will use biometrics and background checks as a part of your DACA determination.
- If you are a new applicant, you must list all addresses where you've lived in the United States since arrival.
- Provide a list of all departures from the U.S., starting with the most recent.
- You must provide evidence that you arrived before turning 16.
- Indictment for criminal acts may affect your eligibility. Misdemeanors involving drug trafficking, driving under the influence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, or unlawful possession of a firearm are considered significant misdemeanors regardless of the sentence.
- If you have never been in removal proceedings, you must be 15 or older at the time of filing.