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Last week the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA. This decision was a wonderful victory to hundreds of thousands of individuals across the country who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own and benefitted from the employment authorization and pathway to permanent residency that this Obama-era Executive Order brought.
This decision was unexpected and, on its face, amazing for all of those impacted. However, looking into the decision more closely, DACA recipients are far from safe in the landscape of the current administration, and we are expecting many updates and announcements in the coming days and weeks.
The Supreme Court’s decision did not state that the DACA program was constitutional or legally sound; rather it held that the Trump’s administration attempts to dismantle it did not follow the proper procedure. Through the language within the decision, the justices have created more or less a roadmap for the Trump administration to ensure that they follow the proper procedure to cancel the Executive Order in the correct way the second time around.
So what’s next? Honestly, at this point, only a week after the decision came out, no one is sure. Trump himself has tweeted he will be resubmitting his request [to terminate DACA] in compliance with the Supreme Court’s ruling shortly. Similarly, both the heads of the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have issued statements dismissing the Supreme Court’s decision and standing by the idea that the president has the authority to terminate DACA.
For now, the good news is that DACA renewals can continue, and we encourage all of our clients to file their renewal applications. It remains to be seen if USCIS will begin to accept new initial applications or return the program of granting advanced parole travel documents to those with DACA.
We will update with information as it becomes available.