Court-Ordered DACA Reboot Up and Running, Allowing Renewals

By Laura D. Francis

Young, undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program again can submit renewal applications if their DACA status has expired or is expiring in the near future.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Jan. 13 announced that it has restarted the DACA program following a court order earlier in the week that required it to do so. A federal judge in California said the Obama-era program providing deportation protection and work permits has to continue while a case challenging its termination goes forward.

The resumption of DACA is temporary, and a reversal of the lower court’s decision again could put the brakes on the DACA program. The Justice Department, which is representing the government in the lawsuit against the DACA termination, has vowed to appeal.

A deal that would provide immigrants covered by DACA with permanent legal status continues to elude Congress. President Donald Trump rejected a bipartisan proposal Jan. 11, throwing further negotiations into doubt by asking why the U.S. accepts immigrants from “shithole countries.” Many immigration advocates and lawmakers view the Jan. 19 expiration of the current government funding measure as the deadline for reaching a DACA deal.

Under the terms of the restarted program, DACA recipients whose status expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, may file a renewal application, the USCIS said. Anyone whose DACA expired or was terminated prior to Sept. 5, 2016, can’t file a renewal application but will be allowed to file a new DACA application.

Immigrants who have never applied for DACA can’t apply now, the USCIS said. In addition, no one in the DACA program will be able to get advance parole, a benefit that allows travel outside the U.S. without it counting against the recipient for immigration purposes.