** LEGAL UPDATE **
Instead of reopening the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as was widely expected after the Supreme Court's decision finding Trump's termination of DACA arbitrary and unlawful, the Administration has issued a new memo, written by Chad Wolf, which seeks to roll back and possibly ultimately terminate the program.
For starters, the memo blocks people who haven't already applied from filing new DACA applications. Wolf suggests that waiting longer won't hurt anyone, stating, "If I ultimately determine to maintain the policy, there is nothing in [it] that would preclude aliens from making an initial request for DACA ... at that time."
The memo also restricts the protections that existing DACA recipients had. It limits government grants of advance parole (which allows departure from and return to the U.S.) to DACA holders who can demonstrate exceptional circumstances that require their travel.
It also shortens the expiration of DACA grants and accompanying work permits to one year rather than two. This is a more troublesome step than it might at first sound. Every application currently costs $495, so this essentially doubles the already steep price tag.
And given that current government reports regarding the average times responding to applications run toward three years, this will have to markedly improve in order to avoid gaps in authorization. (The memo does order U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to get moving and make decisions on all pending requests, but it doesn't specify a deadline.)
The future for DACA holders and the entire program looks bleak. The memo lays the groundwork for the program to be canceled altogether in a matter of months. Wolf states that the government is making "immediate changes to the DACA policy to mitigate my enforcement policy concerns while I conduct a full and careful consideration of a full rescission."
Expect lawsuits to follow.
Effective Date: July 28, 2020