U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York has ruled to restore the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program to Obama-era rules and standards. The decisive move has effectively undone much of the Trump Administration’s efforts to end DACA, which has been on the White House’s agenda since 2017. With the new ruling, thousands upon thousands of Dreamers could have new and continuing opportunities in the United States.
This summer, acting-secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chad Wolf suspended the DACA program and slated it for review. Immigration and civil rights groups were immediately alarmed that it would be left under review indefinitely as a way to end the program unofficially. In his multipage ruling to restore DACA, Judge Garaufis noted that Wolf’s suspension was legally unfounded and, therefore, unenforceable.
With the new ruling, the DHS has been ordered to accept:
- New applications: DACA-eligible immigrants were temporarily unable to even file for DACA protections under the Trump Administration due to changes to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and DHS rules. With DACA restored to how it was during the Obama Administration, first-time applicants can once again file, which could mean opening a new opportunity for tens of thousands of Dreamers.
- Renewal requests: DACA holders may continue to apply for renewal of their DACA status, and they will again be granted employment authorization in 2-year increments according to the District Court order.
- Advanced parole requests: DACA holders who briefly leave the United States briefly for “humanitarian reasons,” education, or business can file an advanced parole request. If approved, the request will allow them to reenter the country without needing to go through additional immigration hoops. The DACA program allowed approved Dreamers to use advanced parole requests as needed until the program was restricted. Now that the restrictions have been reversed, advanced parole requests are once again at a Dreamer’s disposal. The advanced parole option may further provide additional options for Dreamers in the future to make their status more permanent.
All in all, Judge Garaufis’s ruling has been hailed as a monumental moment for young immigrants and their families. Continuing to build a life in the country appears to once again be a possibility for Dreamers, who might then one day be able to sponsor their immigrant families to start a new life together here.
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