DACA October 2022 Updates

Erick Widman

For over a year, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been at risk after a federal judge in Texas ruled the program unlawful in July 2021. As a result, the program has been temporarily paused, only allowing current DACA holders to renew their applications while restricting first-time applications.

Biden Administration and DACA

Shortly after the Texas Court decided to limit DACA, the Biden Administration proposed new and amending rules to help maintain the program’s legality. However, the Administration’s new DACA rules failed to meet the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ standards. Finalized on October 5 2022, the updates made by lawmakers partially affirmed the 2021 decision from the Texas judge. Though these were disappointing results, the 5th Circuit sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings on the new DACA regulations. This ruling does not end the program and continues to allow current DACA holders to renew their status. In addition, USCIS published and clarified how it would continue to accept and process renewal DACA requests, employment authorization documents, and applications for advance parole for current DACA recipients. Further proceedings on the program are scheduled to go into effect on October 31, 2022.

The Current Status of DACA

The uncertainty of the program’s future has discouraged over 800,000 DACA recipients and thousands of others who were left out of the program as potential first-time applicants. Furthermore, all the DACA recipients have spent the majority of their lives living in the United States, many of them considering the United States as their only home. These long-time residents are now at risk of losing their status and having their basic rights stripped away, including their right to lawful working authority.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stated it will continue to accept initial applications, renewal requests, and requests for employment authorization. However, due to the ruling from the Texas court, DHS cannot grant initial DACA or accompanying employment authorization requests. DHS will continue to review renewal requests and grant or deny them according to the existing policies.

DACA Requirements

Though certain groups view the DACA program as an overreach from the Obama administration, which first introduced and established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program back in 2012, the conditions and evidence needed for an individual to qualify for DACA are restrictive. These qualifying conditions include demonstrating that the applicant:

  • Came to the United States prior to their 16th birthday;
  • Was under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2021;
  • Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, and up to the present time;
  • Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • Is currently in school, has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, has obtained a general educational development (GED) certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast guard; and
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The Future of DACA

It is impossible to predict when the district court will rule on the future of DACA or what the court’s decision will be. We do know for certain that, regardless of what is ultimately decided, the determination will directly or indirectly impact the lives of millions. First-time DACA applicants must continue to wait for their requests to be processed and decided upon by DHS, and current DACA recipients will continue to wonder what the future will hold for their renewal.

DACA has long been recognized as a temporary solution, as it was implemented in response to Congress’ inability to pass the DREAM Act. Following the passage of DACA, no further action has been taken to address the persistent need for the protection of this vulnerable population of immigrants. A more permanent solution is needed so that prospective and current DACA recipients can have relief.

Passage Immigration Law

At Passage Immigration Law, we are committed to providing proper legal representation and guidance for our fellow Dreamers. We encourage all current DACA recipients to renew their DACA status no less than six months before their employment authorization card expires, but as early as 12 months before, due to the current uncertainty of the program. To renew your DACA status you will need to submit form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, along with form I-765, Employment Authorization Document, and your supporting evidence.

The attorneys at Passage Immigration, along with their supporting legal staff, are dedicated professionals who are here to help any DACA recipient through their renewal process. If you are in need of further legal advice during this time of uncertainty, we are happy to speak with you. To contact us please visit our website or call us at (503) 427-8243.

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