On July 16, 2021, Texas federal court Judge Hanen published his opinion on the DACA case, which challenged the legality of the DACA policy.* Judge Hanen’s opinion is that DACA is not a lawful policy, but for now will allow those with existing DACA to continue to renew. First-time DACA requests will NOT be processed at this time.
*This was something the Supreme Court did not rule on back in June 2020
What does this recent court decision mean if I:
Am a current DACA recipient: If you currently have DACA and your work authorization has not expired, your DACA and EAD are still in effect, and you are eligible to request renewal when the time comes. If you have applied for advance parole, it will be processed. If you have been granted advance parole, it will still be respected, however, we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or DOJ-accredited representative before traveling abroad.
Requested my DACA renewal: If you requested your DACA renewal or need to in the foreseeable future, it will continue to be processed. USCIS will continue to process and issue a decision on your DACA renewal request.
Filed my first-time DACA request: While USCIS will accept your initial DACA request, Judge Hanen’s order does not allow USCIS to process initial requests while the court order from the Southern District of Texas remains in effect. If you have an initial DACA request pending, your request is on hold while the court order remains in effect.
Had DACA, but it expired: If your DACA expired under a year ago, USCIS will still process your renewal request as a renewal. However, if your DACA expired over a year ago, while you may still file for DACA, it will be considered an initial– or new– DACA request, and thus while USCIS will accept it, it may not process it under the Texas court order.
What can we do now?
It’s important that Congress pass permanent solutions for people with or without DACA, TPS holders, farmworkers, essential workers, and our family members.
If you’re a DACA recipient, know that you are lawfully present in the U.S. and have rights.
Below we’ve adapted some USCIS’ FAQ on DACA: