Federal Court Orders Partial Reinstatement of DACA

Jan 11, 2018 | Raluca Vais-Ottosen

Published 1.11.2018

On January 9, 2018, a federal district judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate parts of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, which is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), was previously terminated on September 5, 2017. At the time, the Trump administration stopped accepting applications for new DACA benefits, and allowed some individuals who already had DACA to apply for renewal by October 5, 2017.

The January 9, 2018, court order states that USCIS must do the following:

  • USCIS must continue to accept renewal applications from individuals who already had DACA when the program was terminated.
  • USCIS must give public notice of the mechanism by which it will accept renewal applications.

The January 9, 2018, court order allows USCIS to continue blocking some DACA benefits, as follows:

  • USCIS is not required to process new DACA applications for individuals who never obtained DACA before.
  • USCIS is not required to grant travel authorizations (advance parole) for any DACA beneficiary.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can continue to detain and seek removal/ deportation of any foreign national who poses a risk to public safety or national security, even those with valid DACA.

Generally, applicants could apply to renew their DACA status between 120 and 150 days prior to the expiration of their existing DACA. However, as of the date of this article, USCIS has not yet given public notice on how or when it will begin accepting renewal applications as ordered by the court. USCIS has also not made the DACA application form available on their website since the court ordered the agency to partially reinstate the program.

While applicants could potentially follow the old process to apply for renewal, unless or until USCIS actually revives the process on their end, those applications may be rejected or their processing may be delayed. It is also anticipated that the administration may appeal the court order, which will likely delay implementation even more.

We will continue to monitor these developments and we will provide DACA updates as they unfold. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding DACA or any other immigration benefits, do not hesitate to contact Raluca (Luca) Vais-Ottosen at (608) 252-9291 or or your DeWitt attorney.