On September 05, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Now, nearly two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the legal challenges to the program.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments from parties from both sides of the issue on November 12, 2019. Which means a decision on the case is expected no later than June 2020. However, a decision could also come much sooner than that.
In 2012, the Obama administration announced DACA, a program that offers work permits and deportation relief to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. In 2017, the Trump administration announced the program’s termination.
Following the announcement of the program’s termination, multiple lawsuits from around the United States were filed, which challenge whether the administration followed appropriate procedures in terminating the DACA program.
In response to these lawsuits, the Second, Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal issued injunctions halting the complete termination of the program.
Under these injunctions, previous DACA recipients (who remain eligible) are able to continue to renew their deferred action and employment authorization for additional two-year increments.
On June 28, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the cases that challenge the termination of the program and consolidated three of the lawsuits: Regents of the University of California, et. al. v. Department of Homeland Security, (9th Circuit); Batalla Vidal, et. al. v. Nielsen, et. al., (2nd Circuit); and NAACP v. Trump, et. al. (4th Circuit).
On November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments, and a decision will be issued in the months following. It is unknown how long the court will take to issues its opinion, but we will have the decision by June of 2020.
Previous DACA recipients may continue to renew their deferred action and should consider early filing for renewal.
Importantly, while the legal challenges continue to play out in the court system, previous DACA recipients may continue to renew DACA. As in the past, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves DACA applications and the accompanying Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for two-years at a time.
Given the uncertainty of the timeline of when the Supreme Court may issue a decision, and what that decision will be, – current DACA recipients whose DACA within the next 18 months should consider submitting their DACA renewals well in advance of their current DACA expirations. These individuals should consult with experienced immigration counsel to review the risks and rewards of early filing of DACA renewal.
For more information on the history of the DACA program, the Trump Adminstration's efforts to end DACA, and the current status of the DACA program, or other information related immigration issues, please contact Kolko & Casey, P.C. or visit our prior blog posts on the topic: