USCIS Resumes Accepting DACA Applications

Jan 15, 2018 | Raluca Vais-Ottosen

This is a developing story. This article updates the prior alert posted on January 11, 2018.

On January 13, 2018, USCIS resumed accepting applications under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), after a federal district judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate parts of the 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.

What parts of DACA were reinstated?
The January 9, 2018, court order states that USCIS must continue to accept renewal applications from individuals who had DACA before, and must give public notice of the mechanism by which it will accept renewal applications.

On Saturday, January 13, 2018, USCIS provided the public notice as required by the court, and announced that it resumed accepting DACA applications. According to USCIS, the following individuals are eligible to apply as of January 13, 2018:

  • Individuals whose prior DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, may file for DACA as a renewal request.
  • Individuals whose prior DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or whose DACA was previously terminated at any time, may file as an initial DACA request, not as a renewal, because renewal requests typically must be submitted within one year of expiration.

What parts of DACA were not reinstated?
The court order allows USCIS to continue blocking some DACA benefits, and USCIS has indicated that it will not reinstate those provisions of DACA, as follows:

  • USCIS will not process new DACA applications for individuals who never obtained DACA before.
  • USCIS will not 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.

The Trump administration has the option of appealing and seeking a stay from the court’s order. Until that time, eligible individuals are encouraged to apply as soon as possible while the process is available.

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.