(Last updated on December 7, 2020)
in a 5-4 victory, the US Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA on June 18th, 2020. Five months after the decision, following federal court orders, DHS and USCIS have updated their websites to indicate that they will start:
- “Accepting first-time requests for consideration of deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting DACA renewal requests based on the terms of the DACA policy in effect prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Accepting applications for advance parole documents based on the terms of the DACA policy prior to September 5, 2017, and in accordance with the Court’s December 4, 2020, order;
- Extending one-year grants of deferred action under DACA to two years; and
- Extending one-year employment authorization documents under DACA to two years.”
At My Undocumented Life, we have compiled a list of key information and resources for undocumented young adults, their families, and allies (including school personnel) in light of the US Supreme Court decision on DACA and the administration’s ongoing attacks.
[Disclaimer: Although we aim to provide the most accurate information, the information in this website should not be taken as legal advice.]
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?
DACA was announced by President Obama on June 2012 in response to growing immigrant youth-led organizing across the country. DACA provides a type of liminal immigration status where beneficiaries are temporarily protected from deportation and receive a temporary work permit but are not provided with a path to citizenship.
What are the eligibility requirements to benefit from DACA?
To apply for DACA, USCIS notes that you must meet the following requirements: “(1) Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; (2) Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday; (3) Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; (4) Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS; (5) Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; (6) Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and (7) Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
There is also an age requirement, which USCIS explains as, “Anyone requesting DACA must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. You must also be at least 15 years or older to request DACA, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order.”
What is the latest update on DACA?
On September 2017, the Trump administration attempted to terminate DACA. Several organizations, DACA recipients, and states then sued the administration’s attempt to end the program. In a 5-4 victory, issued on June 18, 2020, the US Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA.
Over five months after the decision, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance (following federal court orders) stating that: “DHS will comply with Judge Garaufis’ order while it remains in effect, but DHS may seek relief from the order.” You can read the full memo posted by DHS here.
Can I apply for DACA for the first time if I meet the eligibility requirements?
Given the most recent memo issued by DHS on December 7, 2020, USCIS is now accepting applications once again from individuals who are requesting DACA for the first time! Undocumented youth who meet the eligibility requirements and who will be applying for DACA for the first time may begin gathering their application documents so that they are prepared to submit their DACA applications.
Can I renew my DACA if I meet the eligibility requirements?
Yes! USCIS is still accepting DACA renewal applications. You can check their official website for more information: Renew Your DACA
I need to apply for DACA, but I can’t afford the $495 application fees, where can I find help?
If you need legal and/or financial assistance applying for DACA, check out the resources featured on the next section below.
Can I apply for Advance Parole?
As of December 7, 2020, USCIS will begin accepting advance parole requests from DACA recipients once again. Please note that the current Covid19 pandemic may complicate things further. The best option is to consult with trusted immigration lawyer(s) in your community.
Is DACA permanent now?
No. DACA does not provide a path to citizenship and it remains in limbo. The fight continues not just to ensure that DACA remains in place, but to create a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants (with or without DACA), including those who have been forcefully separated from their loved ones.
If you need financial assistance applying for DACA, check out these resources. Note: Depending on funds available, the following organizations may temporarily close their application forms. We encourage you to follow their work on social media so that you receive an alert of when their applications re-open. We will keep updating this page as we learn of more resources.
RAICES (nationwide): “created a new DACA application fee assistance program to remove financial barriers for DACA recipients seeking to renew their status.”
We also recommend reaching out to immigrant serving organizations in your area as they may be providing free legal services and financial help. If you need help identifying an organization near you, please comment below and we will do our best to help.
For additional scholarship opportunities with approaching deadlines, check out this resource page.
If you are an ally and have the financial means, consider supporting undocumented youth-led efforts to provide DACA scholarships. The following organizations are currently accepting donations: Kansas-Missouri Dream Alliance; Dream Big Nevada
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
At My Undocumented Life, we seek to provide resources for undocumented immigrants, not just in regards to educational opportunities and immigration news, but also our health. We have created a separate resource page where you can access information about: health-related resources.
The Thrive Center, Norma Ramirez (doctoral candidate in clinical psychology and plaintiff in the SCOTUS case regarding DACA) and Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores have created a webpage and resources (e.g., a podcast, guide, webinars) to foster thriving and resilience in undocumented youth with or without DACA. The guide they have created, Embracing Strengths and Vulnerabilities for Thriving and Resilience, is now available to all for download (it’s free). Additionally, for the next 5 weeks in collaboration with Fuller Theological Seminary, the Thrive Center will host weekly DACA Thriving Tuesday webinars on Facebook Live to further expand on these topics and provide more mental health resources and self-care tips for the undocumented community. Everyone is invited to join every Tuesday at 10 AM PDT starting, May 26th. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions regarding this resource.
Immigrants Rising’s Virtual Wellness Gatherings: “Led by Liliana Campos, Immigrants Rising’s Mental Health Advocate, these virtual gatherings will convene experienced facilitators—psychologists, coaches, traditional healers—to guide undocumented individuals through interactive activities. Liliana will also share resources for participants to check out on their own throughout the week.” Meetings will be every Sunday and Wednesday from 5pm – 6pm Pacific Time.
Preparing for the Upcoming DACA Decision & Coping with Its Aftermath: Recommendations for School Administrators, Educators, Counselors, and Undocumented Students: This post features practical steps that schools and universities can take to support undocumented students.
December 7, 2020
“Immigration officials restore DACA and start accepting first-time applications following court order” (CBS News) — “Complying with a recent court order, the Trump administration on Monday reinstated a program created by President Obama to shield undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors from deportation, announcing it would accept initial applications for the first time in three years.”
July 28, 2020
“Trump administration to reject new DACA applications during ‘comprehensive review’” (NBC News) — “The White House’s decision comes shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that the president’s effort to end the DACA program was unconstitutional.”
June 19, 2020
“Trump says he will renew effort to end DACA” (AP news) – “Undeterred by this week’s Supreme Court ruling, President Donald Trump said Friday he will renew his effort to end legal protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children.”
June 18, 2020
“Supreme Court decision is welcome news for DACA recipients but program remains vulnerable” (Cal Matters) – “The SCOTUS decision means DACA is safe for now, but perhaps not permanently. Indeed, the administration could still move forward with legal justifications to end the program. It is clear that terminating DACA would be catastrophic for the recipients and their families, as well as for broader communities across the United States. Our research has shown that uncertainty about the program’s future can diminish the health improvements DACA recipients and their children initially experienced. If DACA ends, recipients’ and their children’s lives will be upended dramatically, with serious risks to their wellbeing. Indeed, ICE has already stated it will pursue the deportation of DACA recipients with previous deportation orders if the program ends. Until Congress acts to grant access to permanent legal status, the wellbeing of DACA recipients, their U.S.-citizen children and our communities more broadly remain under threat.”
“DACA Recipients are Shocked and Relieved After the Supreme Court Ruled Against Trump” (BuzzFeed News) – “For weeks, Juan Plascencia has kept a routine: He wakes up and checks the Supreme Court’s website to see if a decision has been made on whether he will continue to receive protection from deportation. In those moments, Plascencia, a 29-year-old history teacher in Las Vegas, was anxious and nervous, but more than anything he just wanted to know.”
“SCOTUS upholds DACA giving temporary victory to many undocumented immigrants” (Lal Legal) – “In a landmark decision today, the Supreme Court of the United States narrowly threw a lifeline to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by holding that the Trump administration sought to end the program in an arbitrary and capricious manner. For now, DACA lives. However, the Supreme Court decision did not say that DACA is legal or that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had to keep the program. The Chief Justice Roberts opinion merely states that in order to get rid of the program, the DHS has to follow proper rule-making procedures under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).”
“Over the Moon!’: DACA recipients celebrate Supreme Court decision” (NBC News)-“Kassandra Aleman, 26, just got the news she was waiting for — and now has the green light to apply to law school. “I’m over the moon right now!” said Aleman, a deputy training director for the Texas Democratic Party and a DACA recipient. “Just knowing that I can move forward with my life for the time being gave me the hope I haven’t felt in a very long time.”
“Supreme Court blocks Trump’s bid to end DACA, a win for undocumented ‘dreamers’” (Washington Post) – “The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle the program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, a reprieve for nearly 650,000 recipients known as “dreamers.”
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At My Undocumented Life we provide up-to-date information and resources for undocumented immigrants and allies. We post scholarship opportunities that are open to undocumented students, strategies for navigating the educational system, information on how to apply for DACA/Advance Parole, news on DAPA, and much more. Most importantly, we want to provide a sense of community to our diverse group of readers. Learn more about our work here: “About Us“