(Last updated December 2, 2022) – On July 16, 2021, a Texas federal court ruled that DACA is illegal. While appeals are pending, the original decision stands, which means that people who already have DACA or who want to renew their expired DACA can continue to do so. But, the government can no longer grant NEW DACA protection to people requesting it for the first time.
What Does This Mean?
The program continues for those who currently or formerly had DACA, but is closed to those who would be applying for the first time.
Current DACA Recipients
- DACA protections and benefits will continue (e.g. deportation protection and work permits) for the time being.
- DACA recipients can continue submitting renewal applications.
- Pending renewal applications will be processed by USCIS.
- People should continue to submit their DACA renewal applications 120–150 days before the expiration date.
- USCIS has been experiencing delays processing DACA applications. If the processing of your renewal application has been delayed, click here to learn more about what you can do.
- Current DACA recipients are able to continue applying for permission to travel outside of the United States through Advance Parole for humanitarian, educational, and employment purposes.
First-Time DACA Applicants
- Unfortunately, USCIS is not processing any first-time DACA applications at this time. People who once had DACA but let it expire and did not renew it within a year of its expiration date would also be considered first-time applicants.
- Biometrics appointments have been canceled for first-time applicants.
- First-time applicants who already completed their biometrics will not have their application processed.
- Although USCIS will still accept applications from people applying for DACA for the first time, the court order prevents USCIS from processing or approving these applications.
- While this decision prevents USCIS from processing first-time applications, there may be other benefits, such as preventing the accrual of unlawful presence, to filing a first-time application for those who are under the age of 18. If you are under the age of 18 and otherwise meet the DACA eligibility requirements, you should speak to an immigration attorney or accredited representative about whether filing a DACA application would be in your best interest.
- We are waiting for more information about what will happen to the application fee paid for the initial application.
- Guidance for DACA Recipients and Legal Practitioners – Frequently Asked Questions (by United We Dream)
- Considering Applying for DACA (by ILRC)
What Else Can I Do?
Take action. Get involved with the movement to get immigration reform passed and the DACA renewal backlog cleared.
- United We Dream (UWD): Sign the Petition — Last Updated November 2022
Reach out for support. Take a break from social media and reach out to those in your support system to share how you’re feeling. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, text HOME to 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255. Both services are free and available 24/7.
Stay Informed. Stay updated by following immigrants rights organizations. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), The UndocuBlack Network, and United We Dream (UWD) are a couple of key organizations to follow.