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Justice Dept. Plans to Fight DACA as USCIS Opens Applications for Renewal

January 16, 2018

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

As renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are being accepted again, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday, that it has filed a notice of appeal and announced its intention to have the Supreme Court review the DACA lawsuit.

This announcement comes a week after an injunction issued by a California federal judge, ruled that the administration must begin accepting renewal applications after President Donald Trump rescinded the program on Sept. 5.

San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that the administration needs to maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis and allow DACA enrollees to renew their status based on the lawsuit.

The Department of Justice is seeking review before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and will issue a petition this week for a writ of certiorari, “seeking direct review in the Supreme Court,” according to the DOJ press release.

“It defies both law and common sense for DACA — an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidated the similar DAPA policy — to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the release. “It is clear that Acting Secretary Duke acted within her discretion to rescind this policy with an orderly wind down.”

On Saturday, Jan. 13, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency announced that renewal applications would be accepted under several conditions as a result of the injunction.

Individuals who previously lost their DACA status on or after Sept. 5, 2016, can now apply for renewal by filling out three forms and paying the $495 fee.

Those individuals whose DACA status expired before Sept. 5, 2016, cannot apply as a renewal but can file an initial DACA request, according to USCIS. However, those who have never received DACA benefits cannot apply.

“USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA,” the USCIS statement reads. “USCIS will not accept or approve advance parole requests from DACA recipients.”

Individuals who entered the country illegally as minors and receive DACA protections, known as Dreamers, acquire work permits and are deferred from deportation through the program, which then-President Obama created in 2012.

Through advance parole requests, the program also previously allowed DACA recipients to travel outside of the U.S. for education purposes or other special circumstances.

The DACA lawsuit, the Regents of the University of California and Janet Napolitano v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Duke, cited the history of DACA and questioned the administration’s reasons for ending the program.

In a previous interview with La Prensa San Diego, local immigration and criminal defense attorney Dulce Garcia encouraged Dreamers to prepare the documents needed to apply for renewal and if they need help filling out forms to seek help from an attorney.

Garcia is one of the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit and she expressed excitement over the decision and referred to it as a “window of hope.”

When the end of DACA was announced, Dreamers were given until Oct. 5 to renew their status, however, only those whose DACA status would expire between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018, could apply for renewal.

Trump gave congress a six-month window to “legalize DACA” with the deadline of March and shared on social media that if they could not come up with a solution by then he would address it.

After DACA was rescinded, Dreamers, activists and individuals who support Dreamers began to encourage and pressure their representatives in congress to vote no on any spending bill that did not include a DACA fix.

Friday, Jan. 19, is the deadline to pass a spending bill and congress could face a possible government shutdown.

In the meantime, the injunction allows Dreamers who did not meet the Oct. 5 deadline the ability to renew their DACA status.

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