USCIS Denies Initial DACA Applications Even After SCOTUS Decision

Allison Lukanich

It has been more than three weeks now since the Supreme Court made its decision regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Ultimately, SCOTUS ruled that the Trump administration was “arbitrary and capricious” in its efforts to dismantle DACA, and as such, would not stand.  While the decision was a great victory for DACA holders across the country, it has been short lived as communications from Trump himself as well as the White House, Department of Homeland Security, and USCIS have all indicated they do not agree with SCOTUS’ decision and will be making efforts to properly dismantle DACA once and for all.

In the last few weeks since the decision was issued, Dreamers, attorneys, advocates, and the public have waited with bated breath for updated regulations or information from the various agencies involved so that new initial applications can be filed.  Remember, when the Trump administration first revoked DACA there was an injunction put in place to protect those who were already granted DACA, but still new initial DACA applications were no longer allowed. If you had not already applied for DACA, then from 2017, you have been unable to apply for DACA.  Based on requirements, the applicant had to be at least 15 years of age to be able to file for DACA in the first place, there is a whole group of young Dreamers in this country who have turned 15 in the last three years and have not been able to file and benefit from DACA.

At this time, USCIS has not issued any guidance on how those who qualify can move forward, aside from a scathing response decrying the SCOTUS decision. Many attorneys, myself included, have hesitated to file any initial applications without more information or guidance, from agencies. We do not want to place our clients in danger or on the government’s radar.  It has been announced today, in various immigration attorney professional groups that a few brave individuals attempted to file for an initial DACA application after the SCOTUS decision. These individuals had their applications rejected, with USCIS stating, “USCIS is no longer accepting initial requests for consideration of [DACA]…from individuals who have never been granted deferred action under DACA.”

So there we have it, USCIS, as an agency under the Executive Branch is refusing to honor the SCOTUS decision upholding DACA.  Trump and the White House is rumored to be making an announcement as early as today to terminate the DACA program, and we will provide updates as soon as we have more information.