The Latest News on DACA

The Latest News on DACA

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is perhaps one of the most well-known immigration programs in the country. This is primarily because it’s constantly in the news thanks to cancelations, legal challenges, and general political scrutiny.

As an immigration law office, we often receive questions about the status of DACA and who is eligible for it. To make everything as clear as possible, here’s an explanation of the program and a summary of the latest news about it.

What is DACA?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is a policy that provides young people (known as DREAMers) some immigration rights in the USA. It doesn’t provide a path to full citizenship or lawful immigrant status, but it does allow them to apply for a social security number, driver’s license, and work permit.

DACA was established on June 15, 2012, through an executive order signed by then-president Barack Obama. Provided applicants met certain conditions, it meant that children who came to the US without legal status could not be removed under normal means.

Nonetheless, DACA doesn’t provide full protection from deportation. As the program’s name implies, it defers removal for a period of 2 years and is subject to renewal. It’s important to note again that it doesn’t provide legal status or a path to citizenship, but makes it easier for the children of immigrants to work and gain an education in the United States.

Requirements for DACA


The eligibility criteria for DACA have remained the same since it came into force in 2012. You’re eligible for DACA if:

1. You were younger than 31 on June 15, 2012.

2. You were younger than 16 when you first came to the USA.

3. You have lived continuously in the USA between June 15, 2007 and when you  

apply for DACA.

4. You were physically present in the country on the day DACA began.

5. On June 15, 2012, you had no legal immigration status.

6. You haven’t been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or are 

considered a threat to public safety or national security.

7. You’re currently in school or have graduated from high school or have a GED.

As with other immigration requests and applications the burden of proof is on you. This means that you must prove your residency in the USA, educational background or military service, and age when you first came to the country.

Of course, proving some of these aspects can be difficult if your parents brought you to the country unlawfully when you were a child. Things such as school records, hospital records, bank transactions, and birth certificates are all relevant for proving age.

Most of these help prove continuous residence in the country, too. You can also use tax records, rent receipts, money order receipts, and employability records to show activity in the country.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services website has a full list of information you need to know about applying for DACA. As you might expect, there is quite a lot to cover, so discuss things with an immigration lawyer if it doesn’t make sense.

Recent Developments on DACA


It’s no secret that the Trump administration was anti-immigration. Along with the Muslim Immigration Ban, DACA came under fire thanks to the hostility created through Trump’s rhetoric.

In 2018, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton – along with 8 other states – filed a lawsuit against DACA. It alleged that DACA was illegal because Obama signed an executive order and therefore didn’t get it passed through Congress. After several years in court, Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen, in June 2021, ordered the government to stop issuing new applications for new DACA applicants. 

There’s little more that needs to be said about the ruling. Simply put, Hanen judged DACA to be illegal, meaning the federal government could no longer approve applications. The ruling put more than 50,000 applications at risk, as they were waiting on approval.

It’s important to note, though, that it does not affect current DACA holders. Those previously approved under the program can renew when their current application expires. If this covers you, it’s reassuring to know that your approval isn’t under threat, for now.

In September 2021, the Biden administration filed an appeal against Hanen’s ruling. The appeal will be heard in front of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a 2015 ruling from Hanen relating to Obama-era immigration protection. As of this writing, the appeal is yet to be heard in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

We can only hope that, eventually, the ruling will be overturned. Considering the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration in 2020 – despite already having one of his two picks – it will be interesting to see how it rules if or when this case comes before it.

On a previous ruling by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the opinion, specifically stated they weren’t ruling on whether DACA is a “sound policy”. As there is now a clearer conservative leaning on the bench, we may see a different result this time around.

The Future of DACA


So, what does the future hold for DACA? The answer to that question is unclear at this time because we’re waiting to see how the current appeal develops in court. The Biden administration has demonstrated a more favorable opinion of immigrants, but it’s debatable to what extent this will really matter.

Even so, we encourage people to continue applying for DACA. While the appeal is ongoing, USCIS can’t approve applications, but you can still submit them. As of this writing, it is unknown whether someone will benefit from applying for DACA now or waiting until the program opens up again, if it does.

As with other immigration-related issues, it’s beneficial to hire a dedicated immigration attorney. This way, you’re getting someone who knows the relevant area of law and can guide you through the application process. Although DACA application is more straightforward than other immigration processes, it helps to have someone explain everything in terms you can understand.


It’s likely that DACA will remain in the news for many years to come thanks to people’s conflicting opinions about its benefits. Despite it not offering citizenship, the ability for the children of immigrants to work and receive education in the USA is clearly beneficial.

If you or someone you know meets the criteria for DACA and would like to apply, The San Diego Immigration Law Office is here to help. Whether it’s questions about the process or advice on gathering evidence, we can help you find the answers.

Similarly, renewing your DACA application is something we can assist with. Of course, this is much easier, but we appreciate you may have questions or concerns relating to recent legal developments surrounding the program.

Whatever you need relating to DACA or immigration as a whole, contact The San Diego Immigration Law Office for help.