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Full Benefits Restored for Dreamers

A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to fully restore Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and to allow new applications to be filed. DACA has not received any new applicants since 2017. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was ordered by Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S District in Brooklyn to inform the public that new DACA petitions for people who qualify will be accepted. Judge Garaufis is also requiring that DHS grant work permits for DACA applicants for two years and not one as was proposed during the summer by the Trump administration. Many undocumented immigrants will see the benefits of this decision, including an estimated 300,000 teens and young adults who can apply for the program soon.

DHS criticized Judge Garaufis's decision but states that the department will comply with the ruling. Lawyers representing DACA beneficiaries praised the ruling and asked the current administration to stop its attacks on immigrant youth. The Director of the Justice Action Center described how the ruling impacts more than one million immigrant recipients who have been denied a fair opportunity to secure their future in the country. The decision restores DACA to where it was under President Obama.

Judge Garaufis's ruling is his second order regarding DACA. In November he found acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf did not have the authority to prohibit new DACA applications or to shorten the period that was given for work permits. Judge Garaufis determined that Wolf’s appointment violated the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

In 2017, the Trump administration tried to end DACA. Their argument was that DACA represented an overreach of executive authority. However, several federal courts ruled that the termination of DACA was illegal. In June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration violated federal law when it tried to end the program.

Judge Garaufis's ruling means that DHS will be required to regulate DACA just as it had when President Barack Obama created the program back in 2012. This new ruling means that many applicants will be allowed to request “advance parole” which allows them to exit and re-enter the United States.

The requirements of DACA include arriving in the U.S before the age of 16, having no serious criminal charges, earning a high school diploma from a U.S. school or a General Educational Development (GED) (or serving in the U.S military), and living in the country since at least 2007 through 2012. DACA is not a direct path to citizenship.

President-elect Joe Biden has promised to protect DACA beneficiaries from deportation and to make a proposal to Congress to allow DACA beneficiaries to gain permanent legal status. Biden will guarantee DACA beneficiaries and their families that they will have the opportunity to live their lives free of fear from getting deported and ensure that they can continue to contribute to the country. We have been doing DACA applications since 2012. If you or someone you know may be eligible for DACA, please contact our office to make a consultation.

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