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DACA Fully Reinstated - USCIS Begins Accepting New DACA Applications for First Time in Three Years

Late Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will begin accepting new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications for the first time in three years. The announcement follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that found that the Trump administration had violated federal law in how it ended the program, and an order by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Friday requiring DHS to reinstate DACA by December 7, 2020. The DHS announcement came hours before the deadline expired in the form of an update to the USCIS website announcing that it will immediately begin accepting new DACA applications.

The DACA program was implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, and allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before the age of 16 to be exempt from deportation. The requirements to obtain DACA have not changed, and to qualify an applicant must prove that they:

1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

2. Came to the United States before their 16th birthday;

3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2012;

4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012;

5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012

6. Are in school, have graduated from high-school or obtained a GED, or have served in the armed forces; and

7. Possess good moral character.

In addition to exemption from deportation, the DACA program allows the individuals who meet these criteria to obtain work authorization and social security numbers, which are required in many states to obtain a driver's license. However, DACA does not provide a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship.

Nearly one million young immigrants in the United States have already received DACA benefits before DHS stopped accepting new applications three years ago. This news will come as an enormous relief and opportunity for the nearly 3 million more individuals in the United States estimated to meet the criteria for obtaining DACA.

If you have question regarding how to apply for an initial grant of DACA, or regarding other immigration matters, please email us at

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