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There is great news for the over one million persons – an estimated 1.3 million in fact – who have become eligible of DACA since the Trump Administration ended the program in September 2017.

On December 4, Judge Nicholas Garaufis, of the Eastern District of New York, ordered the government to reinstate DACA fully and immediately. It should have been reinstated several months ago, when the Supreme Court ruled that the government had not followed proper procedure to end the program, forcing the government to keep DACA alive and returning the program to what it was before Sept. 2017. But the Trump Administration did not fully comply. At the time, they only reinstated it for those who had already received DACA, without opening up applications to new potential recipients. It also limited the protections to one year, instead of the two years as previously, with the option to renew.

But now, thanks to this most recent ruling, all eligible candidates can submit their applications for the first time. It’s important to remember that the only ones who qualify are those have lived in the U.S. consecutively since 2007 and who arrived in the country before their 16th birthday. Those with criminal records are not eligible.

Those who had already received DACA before Sept. 2017, and, with their most recent renewal, only received a one year protection, will have their protections and work authorization extended from one year to two years without having to provide additional paperwork or fees.

It is important to remember that DACA continues to be only a temporary fix. It was first put into place by President Obama through executive order, when Congress was unable to come up with a comprehensive immigration plan that would include “Dreamers.” While DACA protects this group from deportation and is, in essence, a work permit, there is no path to permanent residency and much less citizenship. This is something that only our elected representatives and senators can do through legislation. President elect Biden has stated that he hopes to work with Congress to finally get comprehensive legislation passed – but so have past presidents for the past two decades. Will it finally happen this time? Let’s hope so!

For now, if you or a loved one is eligible for DACA, do take into account that there is considerable paperwork to fill out and a fee of $495.00, which includes consideration of application, employment authorization and biometric services. The fee is the same whether you are applying for the first time or renewing.

The following site gives all the information: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/12/07/update-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals

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