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Is DACA Still Available in 2021?

Court Ruling Finds DACA Policy Illegal

On Friday, July 16, 2021, a Federal Judge in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Texas v. United States held that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is illegal. As such, the Court issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the government’s continued administration of DACA, vacated the June 15, 2012, DACA memorandum, and remanded the memorandum to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for further DACA consideration.

Despite these setbacks, the Court ruling does not:

  • Affect those individuals already covered by the DACA program. USCIS will continue to review and grant renewal applications for those how have already been granted DACA.
  • Block individuals from filing initial DACA applications with USCIS.

Is USCIS Accepting New Applications?

The Court decision does, however, block USCIS from granting or approving new DACA applications. As such, DHS is no longer allowed to grant initial DACA requests.

That being said, DHS will continue to grant or deny renewal DACA requests in addition to accompanying requests for employment authorization (EAD). All applicants whose DACA requests were granted prior to July 16, 2021, are permitted to maintain and renew DACA as well as request and receive advance parole under the Court’s order.

As strong immigration advocates, our attorneys are saddened to learn of this significant reversal. However, we are not discouraged. There is hope. Now is the time for Congress to take action and protect the Dreamers. That being said, we urge you to call on your U.S. Senator or Representative and encourage them to support legislation that would protect the individuals known as Dreamers.

What Is DACA?

We firmly believe the United States is strongest when it welcomes people from around the globe, as immigrants comprise this country’s foundation. With this in mind, DACA helps certain undocumented individuals who entered the US as children and meet strict eligibility requirements obtain temporary relief from deportation for 2 years, subject to renewal. DACA recipients can get driver’s licenses, work permits, Social Security numbers, and other benefits.

By revoking DACA, the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas is hurting not only the Dreamers who deserve protection in the US but also the economy. Since DACA recipients are authorized to work in the country, they are subsequently enhancing our economy. According to research from the American Action Forum (AAF), DACA recipients contribute about $3.4 billion annually to the federal balance sheet and, as of 2017, they contribute nearly $42 billion to the annual US GDP with an average economic contribution of $109,000 per worker. AAF research also found that removing all DACA recipients would cost between $7 billion and $21 billion, reducing US GDP by 0.4%.

Data analyses by the New American Economy Research Fund (NAE) backs the notion that the DACA program positively impacts the US economy. In the analyses, the following facts were discovered:

  • The DACA-eligible population earned $23.4 billion in 2017, up from almost $19.9 billion in 2015
  • 93.3% of DACA-eligible individuals were actively employed in 2017
  • DACA-eligible individuals paid more than $2.2 billion in federal taxes, according to NAE estimates
  • In 2017, DACA-eligible individuals paid $1.8 billion in state and local taxes
  • The DACA-eligible population alone included 43,000 entrepreneurs, or self-employed workers, in 2017
  • In 2017, almost 3 out of every 5 DACA-eligible individuals lived in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois, earning more than a $1 billion combined

As you can see, DACA is beneficial for several reasons. Dreamers can live and work in the US for 2 years without worrying about getting removed from the US, and they can also contribute substantially to our economy. By ruling that the DACA policy is illegal, the District Court is undoing a significant amount of progress we’ve made as a country.

In light of this recent ruling, our lawyers are prepared to answer any questions you may have regarding your DACA status and application. This situation is disheartening for many, but don’t lose hope. Help is just a phone call away at (800) 611-0821! Your fight is our fight.