Department of Homeland Security will not accept new DACA registrations and will reduce the time for renewals.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced changes to the processing of applications for DACA - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - that will affect beneficiaries.

The two key points of the changes are:

1. No new applications will be accepted. This means that people who have never applied for DACA before, even if they meet the requirements, will not be able to do so.

2. The duration of renewals - or re-registrations - will be reduced from two years to one year.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad F. Wolf explained in a legal memorandum that due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisionis canceling the legal guidelines issued by former DHS Secretaries Kirsten Nielsen and Elaine Duke. He indicated that a new review of DACA will be conducted to determine whether the program will continue in the future.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Attorney General William Barr withdrew the legal guidelines issued by former Attorney General Jeff Sessionswho had opined that DACA is illegal and ordered that all guidance on the legality of DACA and related deferred action policies be removed so that Secretary Wolf would have broad discretion to determine whether or not to cancel the program.

Immediate changes to the DACA program

Secretary Wolf ordered that effective July 28, 2020 the following changes to the DACA program take effect:

DHS will not accept new DACA applications, or work permit applications associated with a new DACA application.

2. DHS will reject all initial DACA applications and work permit applications associated with a new DACA application that was previously filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). DHS will refund all associated fees that have been paid to USCIS. This will not affect future new DACA applications if the government decides to reopen the process and accept registrations for the first time.

3. DHS will continue to process DACA renewal applications that have been properly submitted to USCIS and work permit applications associated with a DACA renewal application.

4. The period of deferred action granted to individuals filing new DACA re-enrollment requests will be reduced from two years to one year and their work permits will have the same duration. This only applies to renewal applications that are pending with DHS and future applications submitted to the federal government.

5. The validity of deferred action periods and work permits of persons currently holding DACA will not be affected. For example, if in June 2020 DHS approved applications for DACA renewal and work permits and granted a two-year period of protection, this period of protection will not be reduced or terminated by Secretary Wolf's new directive.

6. DHS prohibited the cancellation of any previously issued period of deferred action or revoking any work permit based solely on Secretary Wolf's new guidance. This does not apply to individuals who commit acts that disqualify them from remaining in DACA.

7. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, DHS will deny all applications for advance parole submitted by DACA recipients and refund all associated fees.

8. DHS will not cancel early entry permits that have already been issued by USCIS. DACA recipients who have a valid advance parole will be able to use the document as long as they meet the necessary requirements.

9. DHS will continue to exercise its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action at any time when immigration officials determine that termination or denial of deferred action is appropriate.

10. DHS will continue to comply with the policy of sharing information among federal agencies to protect national security. Generally, information on DACA recipients, relatives, and guardians will not be shared with ICE unless these individuals commit acts that would make them eligible for referral to an immigration court for deportation.

Uncertain future of DACA

Secretary Wolf explained in the legal memorandum that he has doubts about the future of DACA and that he believes that the U.S. Congress is responsible for finding a legislative solution that could provide permanent legal status to the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients.

He also felt that DHS should enforce immigration law and deter people who bring their children illegally, exposing their lives in the process.


The Supreme Court ruling allows the DACA program to remain in effect for people already in the program.

Immigrants currently enrolled in DACA can re-enroll in the program and obtain a work permit if they meet all the necessary requirements.

However, the litigants in the case decided by the Supreme Court agree that the federal government can rescind DACA in the future, as long as it follows the proper procedures established by law.

DACA is an immigration benefit temporarywhich does not currently lead to permanent residency. DACA will end in the future and it is important that anyone currently enrolled in the program immediately consult with an immigration attorney to discuss their legal options.

Beware of immigration fraud

I have received many calls from people anxious to register for DACA for the first time. I have had to explain to them that DHS is not accepting new DACA applications and suggested that they be evaluated by an immigration attorney to determine their legal options.

Please be very careful of people who claim otherwise and ask you for large sums of money to do a procedure that cannot be done at the moment, or offer you to register for DACA even if you do not qualify.

Beware of immigration fraud and do not seek legal advice from notarios, immigration consultants, multiservices or paper pushers. These people are not allowed by law to give legal advice and could jeopardize your immigration cases since they do not have the necessary knowledge or the necessary permits to practice law.