DACA Updates During the Coronavirus Crisis

As of June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in favor of DACA recipients. Read our guidance on what this may mean for your DACA renewal application, click here.

We understand that the COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) pandemic is causing more stress on an already difficult immigration filing process for those seeking to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. DACA recipients especially are facing new challenges as they try to renew their DACA protection from deportation and their work authorization with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the United States Supreme Court announces a decision on whether the program can continue. Please see below for updates on how COVID-19 may impact DACA renewals and up to date information on any action the Supreme Court may take. As always, we’re committed to supporting you in any way possible. We will work on updating this page as new information surfaces.

Supreme Court COVID-19 Update

Oral Arguments Suspended. On March 16, 2020, the Supreme Court announced that, in keeping with public health precautions, it will be postponing the oral arguments currently scheduled (March 23-25 and March 30-April1) to a later time. The Court intends to still hold regularly scheduled business and is expanding remote working capabilities.

Potential Decision. This change in schedule for oral arguments and expansion of remote working capabilities, at least as of now, does not delay the Supreme Court’s issuance of opinions (decisions). Therefore, the Supreme Court’s decision on the pending DACA case may still be released at any time from now until June 2020.

DACA Renewal Clinics

Our Clinic Tracker. We are working on updating our clinic tracker, which tracks organizations across the U.S. that are hosting DACA renewal assistance events. The clinic tracker will reflect the clinics that are changing and will add any new virtual and in-person clinics, as well as those that get cancelled altogether. We highly recommend also reaching out to the hosting organization for the status of the event.

Virtual Clinics. During the pandemic, many clinics are switching from in-person to virtual appointments.

Keep safe. If your trusted renewal clinic host can only accommodate in-person renewals, urge them to practice the Center for Disease Control’s suggestions for groups of people to be fewer than 10 and with at least six feet of distance between each person. We recommend that if you are attending an in-person clinic, that you take the necessary precautions for your health.

USCIS Offices

As of March 18, USCIS suspended all routine in-person services until at least May 3.

Biometrics appointments. Due to offices closing USCIS announced it will “reuse previously submitted biometrics” to process renewal applications. This means that if you had a biometrics appointment scheduled on or after March 18, USCIS will continue to process applications using your previous biometrics. This will remain in effect until USCIS in-person services resume.

Application processing. USCIS staff may continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public, such as processing centers. Currently, it is unclear if any cases are still being processed, including DACA renewals.

We will work on updating this as soon as new information is released from USCIS. If you are awaiting your DACA renewal and will be experiencing a lapse in work authorization, we encourage you to reach out to a legal service provider. Additionally, as always, with or without DACA you have rights.

If you have not yet renewed, we encourage you to renew your DACA as quickly as possible despite the USCIS offices being closed.

REAL ID

TSA Accepts Expired Driver’s Licenses to Fly. On March 17, 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that expired driver’s licenses and state IDs would be accepted at airports checkpoints. The interim policy will make it easier to fly for people who have not had the opportunity to renew their driver’s license or state-IDs. TSA will accept driver’s licenses or state-IDs that have expired on or after March 1, 2020 for a year after expiration or 60 days after the country is no longer under a national emergency – whichever period is longer.  

REAL-ID Deadline to be Extended to October 1, 2021. On March 26, 2020, Acting DHS Secretary Wolf extended the deadline for states to meet the Real ID requirements to October 1, 2021. Previously, the Department of Homeland Security required states to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses to its residents by October 1, 2020, but decided to delay the enforcement of this due to many state and local agencies closed during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

For additional information in regards to REAL ID, please visit this site. For questions regarding applying for a driver’s license, please visit your state’s Department of Transportation site for details.

Unemployment Eligibility for DACA recipients

DACA recipients may be eligible for state Unemployment benefits as long as their work authorization is valid; however, unemployment benefits eligibility may vary from state to state; we are looking into each state to see if DACA recipients are eligible for unemployment benefits. These benefits will not be counted against you based on the new Public Charge regulation. We will update this page as we find information. Please continue to check this page for updates on eligibility. 

We have confirmed that DACA recipients who live within the states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, and New York are eligible for unemployment benefits. To know if you qualify for unemployment benefits in your state, please visit the Department of Labor’s website in your state to learn more about their eligibility requirements.

Social Distancing and Precautionary Steps

If you can, please practice social distancing and follow CDC guidelines to take as many precautionary steps to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Clean and disinfect your home