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AILA Doc. No. 18011035 | Dated July 21, 2021
USCIS updated its FAQs related to DACA, including updated information regarding the 7/16/21 district court decision in Texas, et al., v. Texas, which found the DACA policy “illegal.”
The FAQ states:
Special thanks to AILA member Steve Yale-Loehr for drafting this update.
On July 16, 2021, Texas federal district Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it created the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. This Practice Update summarizes the court decision and subsequent administration announcements. It also indicates how to advise DACA applicants and recipients, lists several open questions, and mentions what steps AILA members should take next.
On July 16, 2021, Texas federal district Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DHS violated the APA when it created the DACA program in 2012 because it exceeds the power that Congress delegated to the executive branch. Specifically, Judge Hanen held that DHS was required to go through notice and comment rulemaking under the APA. The court also identified substantive flaws with the program. The court held that DHS can continue to process DACA renewals and can accept new DACA applications, but may not approve new applications.
For a good summary and analysis of Judge Hanen’s decision, see this article.
On July 17, 2021, the White House announced that the government will appeal Judge Hanen’s decision. The White House also announced that DHS plans to issue a proposed rule concerning DACA “in the near future.”
On July 17, 2021, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that DHS “remains focused on safeguarding DACA, and we will engage the public in a rulemaking process to preserve and fortify DACA. The Department of Justice also intends to appeal yesterday’s order. Moreover, we will continue processing DACA renewal requests, consistent with the ruling.”
On July 19, 2021, acting USCIS director Tracy Renaud announced that all individuals whose DACA requests were granted before July 16 “will continue to have and be eligible to renew DACA, and to request and receive advance parole.” USCIS also stated that additional guidance would be issued “in the coming days.” Finally, USCIS also stated that it would publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to “strengthen and fortify DACA” through the rulemaking process. USCIS also updated the DACA page on its website to reflect Judge Hanen’s decision.
For DACA recipients as of July 16, 2021:
For a good Q&A from United We Dream, see this article.
It is unclear whether people who let their DACA status lapse for more than a year can reapply. In the past, USCIS stated that individuals in that situation should file a new initial application.
It is unclear whether DACA recipients who travel on advance parole will be allowed to re-enter the United States upon their return. They should be allowed to re-enter, just as most DACA recipients in the past successfully re-entered the United States, but we don’t have case examples yet.
It is unclear whether USCIS will cancel biometric appointments for initial DACA applicants, although anecdotal evidence suggests USCIS is doing that.
We don’t know what will happen if a person’s DACA status expires while a renewal application is pending.
AILA members should educate their clients about what Judge Hanen’s decision does and doesn’t mean. They should also encourage Congress to pass legislation to provide a permanent solution for the estimated 700,000 DACA recipients, such as the American Dream and Promise Act, which has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate. Visit this Featured Issue page for more information on what’s happening in Congress, and visit our Action Center to contact Congress. Finally, AILA members should encourage their clients and others to do the same.
In an press statement, AILA President Allen Orr and Executive Director Benjamin Johnson responded to the ruling by Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in this statement, urging the administration and Congress to protect Dreamers.
The district court found that DHS violated the APA with the creation of DACA and its continued operation, stating that the DACA memo and the DACA program that created it are hereby vacated and remanded to DHS for further consideration.
The decision notes:
“DHS may continue to accept new DACA applications and renewal DACA applications as it has been ordered to by the Batalla Vidal court cited above, but it is hereby enjoined from approving any new DACA applications and granting the attendant status.”
Special thanks to AILA member, Patrick Taurel, LLP for drafting this alert.
On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum entitled, “Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” (“The Memo”).
The notices also state that USCIS will “take appropriate steps to provide evidence of the one-year extensions of deferred action and employment authorization documents under DACA to individuals who were issued documentation on or after July 28, 2020, with a one-year validity period under the defunct policy.”
On December 4, 2020, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered DHS to fully reinstate the DACA program, finding that Wolf’s July 2020 memo reconsidering the DACA program must be put aside. The order is effective immediately, and DHS is required by the order to post a public notice stating that it is accepting new, initial DACA applications, work permits are valid for two years, and DACA recipients are eligible to apply for Advance Parole.
The court had previously held in a November 14, 2020, decision that Chad Wolf was not lawfully serving as DHS Acting Secretary under the Homeland Security Act when he issued the July 28, 2020, memorandum suspending DACA following the Supreme Court decision in DHS v. Regents of the University of California.
On July 28, 2020, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo rescinding prior memos that purported to terminate the DACA program and stating that he will reconsider the program’s future in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in DHS v. Regents of the University of California. On August 21, 2020, USCIS issued guidance implementing the Wolf memo. This practice alert provides background on the Supreme Court decision and explains the impact of the Wolf memo and USCIS guidance.
On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration rescinded the DACA program in a memorandum issued by then-Acting Secretary Elaine Duke. Multiple lawsuits were soon filed challenging the termination, and several courts issued injunctive orders directing the government to partially maintain the DACA program. For more information on these legal challenges, see our litigation tracking page, DHS v. Regents of the University of California. On June 28, 2019, the Supreme Court consolidated and granted certiorari in several of these cases. It heard oral argument on November 12, 2019.
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court blocked the government’s attempt to terminate DACA and remanded the case for further consideration. The 5 to 4 majority opinion ruled that DHS’s rescission violated the APA as an arbitrary and capricious final agency action because the agency failed to consider “important aspects of the problem.” Specifically, the Court concluded that DHS failed to consider whether to continue only the deferred action part of the DACA program and that “omission alone renders [the decision] arbitrary and capricious.” In addition, the Court found that DHS failed to address the considerable reliance interests created by the DACA program, such as the impact on Dreamers and their families, if the agency terminated DACA.
Importantly, Justice Roberts noted that the parties agreed that DHS may rescind DACA and emphasized that the court is not deciding whether DACA or its rescission are “sound policies.” Ultimately, the Court rested its decision on well-settled principles rooted in government accountability as codified in the APA: the agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Accordingly, the Court remanded the cases for DHS to “consider the problem anew.”
On July 28, 2020, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo rescinding two prior DHS memos in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in DHS v. Regents of the University of California: the September 5, 2017 memo issued by then-Acting Secretary Duke that purported to terminate the DACA program and the June 22, 2018 memo issued by then-Secretary Nielsen that purported to provide “further explanation” for the DACA rescission.
In his July 2020 memo, Wolf stated that he plans to reconsider the DACA program’s future and, in the interim, instructed USCIS to reject all pending and future initial requests for DACA, reject all pending and future applications for advance parole absent exceptional circumstances, and limit the period of DACA renewals to one year. Wolf justified these interim actions by claiming that the DACA program “presents serious policy concerns that may warrant its full rescission,” and stating that he is “making certain immediate changes to the DACA policy to mitigate [his] enforcement policy concerns while [he] conduct[s] a full and careful consideration of a full rescission.” Wolf lists his “enforcement policy concerns,” which include Congress’s failure to act, use of discretion in the DACA program, and sending “mixed messages” on enforcement of immigration laws.
On August 21, 2020, USCIS issued a memo providing additional guidance necessary to implement Wolf’s July 2020 memo. Together, these memos outline the following policies:
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 18011035.
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