A federal judge has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") program by Monday, December 7, 2020. The ruling also orders that the administration must issue related work permits for validity periods of two years, reversing the change to one-year issuances that had been instituted over this past summer.
However, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA was unlawful, the Department of Homeland Security continued to refuse to consider new applications for the program. It is unknown at this time whether they will comply with the latest order or whether they will attempt to appeal the decision and/or continue to reject new applications.
Regardless, it seems certain that any resistance to the full reinstatement of DACA will end when Joe Biden assumes the office of President in January 2021. Therefore, anyone who may qualify for first-time DACA should start preparing the necessary materials and seek qualified legal assistance in anticipation of applying.
DACA is for persons who arrived in the United States prior to reaching the age of 16 and fulfill other requirements related to age, education, criminal history, and continuous presence. It affords some protection against deportation and authorization to work in the United States. Though it does not directly provide a path to permanent residence or citizenship at this time, there are circumstances under which a grant of DACA has been able to open such opportunities. To learn more, speak with qualified legal counsel.