DACA must be restored to original terms, federal judge orders

DACA - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - should be restored in full, as it was originally established in 2012 by President Barack Obama, and before the Trump administration's 2017 attempt to cancel it. So ruled today, Friday, the. Federal Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.

In its rulingJudge Garaufis ordered the government to post a public notice that it is accepting initial - or first-time - DACA applications and requests for early admission on the DACA website. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and all relevant agencies, including that of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (USCIS), no later than Monday, December 7, 2020.

He also noted that the announcement should clearly state that DACA employment authorization will last for two years, rather than one.

The ruling cancels the changes outlined by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf in a memorandum in Julyin which it continued to block new DACA applications, reduced employment authorization to one year and limited the ability of recipients to travel outside the United States.

Wolf issued that memo after the Supreme Court in June blocked President Trump's attempt to end DACA.

Judge Garaufis ruled in November that Wolf was not lawfully holding office, and therefore, did not have the authority to issue that memo on DACA.

* Important note: Until the notice is published, and DHS and USCIS announce that they are accepting initial applications, processing cannot begin.

Who qualifies for DACA

DACA eligibility requirements are as follows:

1. Have been less than 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012.

2. Have arrived in the United States before the age of 16.

3. Have resided continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present.

4. Have been present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you filed your DACA application with USCIS.

5. Have entered without inspection before June 15, 2012 or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.

6. You are attending school, have graduated from high school, hold a General Education Certificate (GED), or have served honorably in the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces.

7. Has not been found guilty of a felony, significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors, or poses a threat to national security or public safety.

All requirements must be met. If you have a criminal record, including drunk driving, do not apply without first consulting with an immigration attorney.

Beware of fraud

Remember that not everyone is eligible to apply for DACA. Cases that seem easy may have complications.

It's not just about filling out a form. An attorney can evaluate case histories and determine legal options, including your eligibility for DACA and permanent residency.

Do not go to notaries, immigration consultants, paper fillers or multi-services. They are prohibited by law from giving legal advice.

Consult with an immigration attorney or federally accredited legal representative before beginning the process. Make sure they have a current license and immigration legal experience before hiring them.