Immigration

New Applications Rejected Despite Supreme Court DACA Ruling

Although the Supreme Court voted to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program nearly a month ago, the Trump Administration is still not accepting new applications. Renewals are being accepted and processed, but hundreds of thousands of first-time applicants are left fearful of their future in the United States.

The DACA program protects undocumented immigrants who arrived as children from deportation. Although it does not provide a path to citizenship, it allows recipients to work and study in the United States. The Trump Administration has long been at odds with the Obama-era program, and critics are now demanding that the administration complies with the court’s decision.

“That’s insane. That’s a violation of the order…Legally, there’s no basis to reject any new applications,” said Bill Ong Hing, professor of law and Director of the Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic at the University of San Francisco. The Center for American Progress (CAP) has also issued a release stating that by rejecting new applications, the administration is defying the court. Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at CAP said that the Supreme Court “gave the administration a command to restore the program to the way it was operating before September 2017’s attempted rescission. By failing to do that, the administration is at this moment in open defiance of the law.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that oversees DACA applications, has said they are still underway in reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision, but that it lacks a legal basis. USCIS will renew status for about 650,000 recipients but will reject the applications of more than 300,000 youth who are eligible for first-time applications.

Many fear that Trump will attempt to overturn DACA once again, but it is unclear if new attempts will comply with the Supreme Court ruling or will have to be challenged again. Trump has also made several conflicting statements on his stance on DACA, making the situation more complicated for young people seeking protection in the United States. “He has continued to make threats to end this very successful and popular DACA policy, while making these nonsensical and confusing statements that…create a level of stress and anxiety for DACA recipients and their family members,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

Sources: Feminist Newswire 6/18/20; NPR 7/15/20; Center for American Progress 7/13/20; NBC News 7/16/20