For many immigrants, the United States became your home when your parents brought you to the country. If they came here unlawfully, you are vulnerable to the threat of being ordered to return to your parents’ country of origin. In 2015, the Obama Administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. It was designed to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the United States as children. This policy allows you to secure a social security number, a driver’s license or state-issued ID and work authorization.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration suspended DACA in 2017, which meant no new applications would be allowed and no new candidates selected. For three years, hundreds of thousands of teens and young adults have faced the potential of being deported even though, for many, the United States has been the only country they have ever known. If you are among them, this has undoubtedly been an uncertain time.
Renewed Hope For Individuals And Families
On December 4, 2020, a federal judge in New York ordered DACA to be reopened to new applicants. This restoration of DACA has positive implications for undocumented immigrants previously denied the opportunity to apply for deferred action from deportation.
Beyond opening applications to new candidates, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security must reinstate work permits for two years, rather than the limited one-year period granted under a memorandum issued by Chad Wolf, the secretary of Homeland Security this past summer. Additionally, the order requires the Department of Homeland Security to inform those who are eligible for DACA of the changes.
Forward Momentum In A Long-Fought Battle
While the Trump administration could appeal the ruling, President-Elect Biden has expressed his desire to fully restore DACA when he takes office. With the inauguration just over a month away, there is hope that the order will stand without an appeal from an administration that will soon be leaving office.
The next days and weeks still hang in a delicate state of uncertainty. However, there is much to celebrate as the legal system stands behind protecting your rights as an immigrant. This order is a step forward in a battle that has been pushing the DACA program backward for several years. It is a victory immigration advocates can take joy in during a year when, for so many, joy has been tempered by the unique obstacles brought on by the pandemic.