The Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act, or DACA, has been a saving grace for many children of immigrants who did not go through the proper government channels to attain citizenship. The initiative allows those children who were brought to the US unlawfully a two-year grace period which allows them to apply for a work permit.
New rulings, however, have many people asking: "Can I apply as a new applicant?"
The answer is unfortunately tricky.
Who voted against DACA?
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of shooting down the Trump administration's bid to repeal the DACA act (which differs from DREAM in that it allows applicants a path to citizenship), with Chief Justice Roberts casting the deciding vote. He wrote: "The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may reconsider the problem anew." He also said that the Federal Government didn't provide enough of a legal justification for putting an end to the program.
"Today's decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision," Roberts continued, further calling the Trump administration's attempt to rescind it "arbitrary and capricious."
In addition to Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all voted in favor of keeping DACA. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Brett M. Kavanaugh all voted in favor of repealing it.
President Trump tweeted about the Supreme Court's DACA decision.
Trump voiced his disapproval of the decision online, calling the Justices decisions "politically charged." Another huge ruling also passed earlier this week that legally gave specific working protections to LGBT employees.
DACA has been one of many of former President Barack Obama's initiatives that Donald Trump has largely criticized, and was one of the programs he had vowed to repeal when he took office in 2016.
Can I apply for Daca now that the vote allowed the program to stay?— Mademoiselle Piaf (@MademoisellePi7) June 18, 2020
Lower courts had blocked his pursuit of getting rid of the program, so then he appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the arguments and ultimately decided to keep DACA intact, however, that doesn't mean that the program's future is not in jeopardy.
Immigrant kids can still apply for DACA protection, but it costs $495. More if you count legal fees. That's out of reach for many, so I'm asking you to donate to help offset the costs so kids can live without fear of deportation. #DACA https://t.co/psfABzMB6l— Tenacious “T” will resist - 🧡 #TeamDems #JoeBiden (@WillResistAdmin) June 18, 2020
Can I apply for DACA?
Technically speaking, yes, DACA should be accepting new applicants. When news first broke out that the Trump administration was trying to repeal the act, that meant that only existing individuals who were enrolled in the program could apply for re-enrollment. In many instances, that is usually granted, as long as the applier is in good legal standing.
it did! but only people who previously had DACA can renew it, i don't think any more people can apply for it, at least for now— 🅱︎🅻🅼 ☮︎︎ karen smith's lost sister (@medicinelouu) June 18, 2020
If anyone knows of someone who is trying to apply for or renew their DACA please let me know! I know it can be expensive and myself/family are trying to donate to people directly. We might not be able to pay the entire fee but we want to do what we can 💖— AK🔫 (@AnaaKayy) June 18, 2020
However, many attorneys also say that the future of new applicants could be up in the air as the Supreme Court Justices didn't stipulate as to whether or not the US Government must accept individuals who are attempting to enroll for the program for the first time. This is where things get tricky, but some individuals are reporting after looking into the issue themselves, they'd discovered they can, indeed, apply as a new applicant. Again, there doesn't seem to be an official word yet, though.
.@USCIS PLEASE UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE. Let us know if/when #DACA new apps can be submitted. I'm asking for close to 1/2 million DACA recipients who qualify for DACA, 7k Arizona dreamers who were too young to apply, asking for the students like Maria, Darian, + Angel from @AlientoAZ— Reyna Montoya (@ReynaEMontoya) June 18, 2020
So if you're already enrolled in DACA, then you should be able to enroll again without any issues. Legal advice site Nolo.com suggests you contact a local immigration attorney in order to find out specific rulings in your area. If you are attempting to apply for the first time, you might just be left out in the cold, awaiting a response.