On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the DHS secretary, these youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This page provides guidance on how to apply for DACA, renew DACA, and other important information on DACA. The current DACA landscape is complicated and involves litigation in multiple courts, agency rulemaking, and the ongoing call for and efforts to pass legislation with the goal of a permanent solution. See the below tabs for the latest updates, general information on DACA, information about the litigation around the DACA program, and information about ongoing legislative and administrative advocacy.
What is the current state of the DACA program?
Last updated May 11, 2022
On December 4, 2020, the District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Batalla Vidal et al. v. Mayorkas, et al. ordered the government to accept first-time requests for DACA, renewal requests, and advance parole requests based on the terms of the 2012 DACA program.
On July 16, 2021, a Texas federal court found that the 2012 DACA program is unlawful. The federal government has appealed this decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the parties have completed their briefs and oral argument is scheduled for the morning of July 6, 2022 in New Orleans. For now, those who currently have DACA or had it at any time in the past can file for renewals of their DACA and work permits. However, the federal government is currently not granting applications from first-time applicants and anyone whose DACA status expired more than one year ago. In fact, the government is not even processing these applications.
What is happening in the Batalla Vidal case in New York?
On April 4, 2022, the Batalla Vidal plaintiffs (a nationwide class of all those who hold DACA or are DACA eligible) had a pre-motion conference with the court in the Eastern District of New York. With Congress having failed to act and a proposed new DACA regulation still unfinalized, plaintiffs asked the New York court for relief for the approximately 80,000 individuals who applied for DACA after the court ordered the government to accept and adjudicate first-time applications in December 2020, but whose applications were stalled when a Texas federal court ordered the government to stop granting initial DACA applications in July 2021. We explained to the New York court that there is a space between the New York order and the Texas order that would allow the New York court to provide meaningful relief to the 80,000 first-time DACA applicants who applied during that period and whose applications are still in limbo. The New York court asked plaintiffs to submit briefs on two possible options: (1) the possibility of ordering the government to process first-time DACA applications submitted between December 2020 and July 2021 up to the point of, but not including, a grant or denial, and (2) some form of interim relief to those 80,000 DACA applicants that would last until their applications are ultimately adjudicated. The briefing will be completed on June 6, and the New York court may schedule another conference thereafter.
What does this mean?
Plaintiffs believe the government took actions that violated the New York court order. Specifically, the New York court had ordered the federal government to accept and adjudicate first-time DACA applications. Later on, the Texas court ordered that the government could not grant first-time applications. The government interpreted the Texas court’s decision as forcing it to not process and adjudicate first-time DACA applications that had been pending before July 16, 2021, when the Texas court issued its decision, despite the fact that these applicants paid filing fees and filed at a time when the government was obligated to process those applications pursuant to the New York court’s December 2020 order. Further, the government interpreted the Texas order as barring it from processing renewal requests for DACA recipients whose DACA expired more than one year ago, because the government treats those applications as initial applications without justification. To learn more about the case read our latest blog post.
Does this change the DACA program?
For now, no. As of April 7, 2022, Plaintiffs have only had a conference with the New York court and are now briefing possible options. The briefing will be complete on June 6. Those who hold DACA can continue to renew their deferred action and work permits. The government is still not granting first-time applications or applications from those whose DACA has lapsed for more than one year. As the court process moves forward, we will keep this information updated.
What does this mean for first-time DACA applicants?
As of now, there are no changes in the DACA program since July of 2021, except USCIS’s announcement in April 2022 that DACA renewals may be filed electronically.
- Q: Should I send my first application if I have my documents ready?
- A: This is an individual decision you should make in conjunction with your lawyer or legal representative. The application request costs $495 and although USCIS will accept the application, keep the money, and issue a receipt notice, the application will not be granted or denied.
- Q: I have already sent in my application. What will happen next?
- A: The application will not be granted. On July 27, 2021, USCIS advised they will be putting these applications “on hold” and will NOT be refunding application fees or rejecting applications. This could change in the future. You can check uscis.gov/daca for updates.
- Q: My first-time DACA application was granted before July 16, 2021. Has anything changed?
- A: No, your DACA and work permit remain valid. You can use your work permit and you are entitled to a Social Security number and could be eligible for other benefits.
What does this mean for current DACA recipients?
While the Texas decision is appealed, the Texas court order allows current DACA holders to continue benefiting from DACA and work permits remain valid. You can use your work permit and you are entitled to a Social Security number and could be eligible for other benefits. The letter filed in New York does not change this.
- Q: Has anything changed with my DACA or work permit?
- A: No, you will continue to be protected against deportation, and you may continue to use your work permit, Social Security number and any other benefits associated with your DACA.
- Q: When should I renew my DACA?
- A: USCIS encourages renewals to be filed between 120 and 150 days prior to the expiration of your DACA. However, USCIS will accept your application before 150 days but will not process it until 150 days before your DACA expires. If your DACA expires in the next few months, we encourage you to renew as soon as possible.
- Q: What if my DACA expired more than one year ago?
- A: USCIS is not granting applications for previous DACA holders whose DACA lapsed for over one year. You may still file an application but it will not be approved unless the government changes its current practice.
What does this mean for travel on advance parole?
USCIS continues to process and issue advance parole from current DACA holders.
- Q: I have received advance parole. Can I still travel?
- A: Your advance parole is valid and you may travel and re-enter the United States using the document as long as your DACA remains current. However, we always recommend you consult with an attorney or accredited representative about individual risks before traveling.
- Q: I have an advance parole application pending. What will happen next?
- A: If your DACA is current and you meet the advance parole eligibility requirements, USCIS will continue to process and issue a decision on your advance parole application.
- Q: I was planning on applying for advance parole. Should I still apply now?
- A: If your DACA is current and you are eligible for advance parole, you may apply. Your application will be processed. However, you should pay attention to the media and uscis.gov/daca for any further court updates that may impact advance parole for DACA holders.
Could any of this change?
Yes, the current DACA program is subject to change based upon court orders or federal government policy change. Please check this website for updates.
- The back and forth in the courts make it clear that we need Congress to act now. Immigrants across the country are fighting to create a pathway to citizenship for all that is inclusive of DACA beneficiaries and their families.
- Sign up for updates on our class action website: dacaclassaction.org.
ALERT: Trump Administration Scales Back Availability of DACA While Deciding Whether to End It
ALERT: Supreme Court Overturns Trump Administration’s Termination of DACA
ALERT: U.S. District Court in Texas Denies Texas Request to Stop DACA Renewals
What States Can Do to Mitigate the Harm If DACA, TPS, and Other Forms of Immigration Relief End
About DACA and Employment (answers to frequently asked questions — English, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish)
#DefendDACA: Stories in Defense of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
DACA and Driver’s Licenses/REAL ID
REAL ID and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Access to Driver’s Licenses for Immigrant Youth
DACA Supreme Court Case Summary & Practice Update (NILC & ILRC, updated 12/22/20)
DACA & Education Post–U.S. Supreme Court Decision
#HomeIsHere Toolkit for PreK-12 Educators, Leaders, and Policymakers
Getting and Renewing DACA
Guidance for Practitioners Helping Clients with DACA Cases Electronically (UWD, NILC, and AALDEF)
Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed
DACA Renewal Calculator: Calculate When Would Be the Best Time to Submit Your DACA Renewal Application to USCIS
DACA & Obamacare (ACA) & Taxes
FAQ: Exclusion of Youth Granted “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” from Affordable Health Care
FAQ: DACAmented and Undocumented Immigrants and the Obamacare Tax Penalty
Taxes and DACA: What Do I Need to Know? (webinar)
Resources | COVID-19 Crisis and Consequences
2021 Survey of DACA Recipients Underscores the Importance of a Pathway to Citizenship (NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 2/3/22)
New DHS Policy Threatens to Undo Gains Made by DACA Recipients (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 10/5/20)
Amid Changes to the DACA Program and COVID-19, DACA Recipients Are Fired Up and Civically Engaged (NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 10/2/20)
What We Know About DACA Renewals (Center for American Progress, 10/15/19)
DACA Recipients’ Livelihoods, Families, and Sense of Security Are at Stake This November (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 9/19/19)
Amid Legal and Political Uncertainty, DACA Remains More Important Than Ever (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 8/15/18)
Ending DACA Would Have Wide-Ranging Effects, but Immigrant Youth Are Fired Up and Politically Engaged (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 8/23/18)
DACA Recipients’ Economic and Educational Gains Continue to Grow (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 8/28/17)
New Study of DACA Beneficiaries Shows Positive Economic and Educational Outcomes (report by NILC, CAP, UWD, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 10/18/16)
Results from a Nationwide Survey of DACA Recipients Illustrate the Program’s Impact (report by NILC, CAP, and Tom K. Wong of UCSD, 7/9/15)
DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action (Migration Policy Institute, 8/14)
Memo from DHS secretary — Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children (June 15, 2012, PDF)
DHS press release announcing a deferred action process for undocumented youth (June 15, 2012, PDF)
Questions and answers about the administration’s announcement regarding relief for individuals who came to the United States as children (June 15, 2012, PDF)
Memo from U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement director John Morton (June 15, 2012, PDF)
Learn about what is happening with DACA in the courts.
Litigation Related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (tables)
Summary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in the DACA Cases
DACA Litigation Timeline
Challenge to Termination of DACA Program
Wolf v. Batalla Vidal, et al. (formerly Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al.): Amended lawsuit in New York challenging termination of DACA program
Docs Received under Freedom of Information Act
Pushing for Information on the Trump Administration’s Decision to End DACA