Update: DACA Renewals Resume Following Federal Court Order, but Congress Must Act

Update:  On January 13, 2018, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will resume processing applications to renew DACA status and work authorization in compliance with the January 9th Federal Court order discussed below.  Only persons who already had DACA can apply; USCIS will not accept applications from persons who had never had DACA protections previously.

On February 13, 2018, a second Federal District Court in New York also ruled against the government’s rescission of DACA  and ordered USCIS to process DACA renewal applications under the same terms as defined by the California federal court order.

Those interested in renewing should consult with experienced immigration attorneys for more information.  Since the government is appealing the Court’s ruling, this relief may be short-lived.


On January 9, 2018 the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the Administration’s decision rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was based on a “flawed legal premise” and should be blocked from taking effect. For background on DACA, read this post.

What does this decision mean for DACA holders?

The Court’s order applies nationwide.   It orders the government to continue processing DACA applications from those who already have had DACA. A person who has never had DACA will not be able to file a first-time application.

Estimates are that over 13,000 DACA holders have already lost their DACA status and their permission to work. Under this order, the government must allow them to apply to renew both their DACA status and their work authorization. Should this order stand, the more than 8500 people whose DACA status and work permits will expire each week starting on March 6, 2018, can apply to extend their status.   The order does not allow DACA holders to apply for “advance parole” so that they can temporarily leave and reenter the U.S., however.

What’s next?

In a highly unusual move, the government has asked the Supreme Court to take up its appeal, without first having appealed to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  This decision is a reprieve, but not a solution for those with DACA. These young adults need a path to permanent residency, not temporary fixes that leave them and their families, communities and employers in a cloud of uncertainty.

Congress must pass a bill creating a path to permanent residency for the DACA/Dreamers.  That debate is ongoing as of this writing,