The Department of Homeland Security has issued a final rule that will preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. DACA allows certain eligible noncitizens who arrived in the United States as children, specifically those who arrived prior to turning 16, to defer their removal and apply for a renewable, two-year work permit. This ruling will continue DACA based on the ongoing practices of USCIS. The final rule:
Maintains the existing threshold criteria for DACA;
Retains the existing process for DACA requestors to seek work authorization; and
Affirms the longstanding policy that DACA is not a form of lawful status but that DACA recipients, like other deferred action recipients, are considered “lawfully present” for certain purposes.
The final rule is effective Monday, October 31, 2022. However, while an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas remains in effect, DHS is prohibited from granting initial DACA requests and related employment authorization under the final rule. Because that injunction has been partially stayed, DHS presently may grant DACA renewal requests under the final rule.
Since its inception in 2012, DACA has allowed over 800,000 young people to remain in the only country many of them have ever known, with their families.