The Future of DACA is Unclear

Erick Widman

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is an initiative launched by the Obama administration in 2012 that provides some undocumented persons living in the United States with work authorization and protection from deportation. Approximately 800,000 folks have received DACA since its inception.

DACA is not a path toward citizenship or permanent residence. Rather, it is an opportunity for undocumented persons who meet a certain criteria to work in the US without fear of deportation. In order to qualify for DACA, “Dreamers” are required to meet certain requirements on a renewable two-year basis.

Many conservatives, including supporters of the Trump administration, oppose DACA and have worked tirelessly to end the program.

DACA in the courtroom

The Trump administration’s plan to cancel DACA has been met with opposition since it was first announced in September 2017.

In January, February, and April 2018, federal judges in San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC, each ruled that the Trump administration failed to justify the cancellation and blocked the plan to end DACA. In August 2018, a federal judge in Texas rejected a lawsuit submitted by seven states’ that argued DACA is an illegal policy.

Despite these legal challenges, the Trump administration has pressed on with its plan and filed several appeals in several districts including the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court is unlikely to review DACA this year.

What does this mean for Dreamers?

Folks who currently receive DACA are eligible to renew their benefits. However, USCIS is not currently accepting new applications.

DACA recently returned to headlines, with many observers speculating that the Trump administration may agree to expand DACA’s benefits in return for funding to build a barrier along the US-Mexico border.

For now, the future of DACA is unclear.

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