An Update on DACA

Last Updated

August 25, 2020

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court issued its final ruling on, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ET AL. v. REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA ET AL., stating that the Trump administration failed to provide an adequate explanation for their termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, immigration program and it therefore should remain.

DACA is an immigration program that was implemented in 2012 by the Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama administration. This program allows certain undocumented individuals — who entered the United States as children — to be safe from removal for a period of up to two years, if they meet certain eligibility requirements. An applicant granted this relief is eligible for work authorization, a social security number and various federal benefits.

In 2017, the Trump administration announced its decision to rescind the DACA program. This decision was met with several lawsuits, which made their way up to the Supreme Court. While a final decision on the matter was pending, those who had DACA approvals could continue to work and file applications for renewal; however, no new applications, for those who did not already have DACA, could be filed. The Supreme Court ruled that the 2017 rescission did not include the proper explanation required by the Administrative Procedure Act, therefore, allowing the DACA program to continue.

After a month of inaction, a Maryland federal judge ordered the government to start immediately complying with the Supreme Court’s decision. The order in CASA DE MARYLAND ET AL v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ET AL., reinstated DACA as it was before the program was rescinded in 2017, which included accepting new DACA applications.

The Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf then issued a memo on DACA to Customs and Border Protection, Immigration Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, stating the following:

  • No new initial requests for DACA should be accepted;
  • Applications for Advance Parole should be granted to current DACA beneficiaries only in exceptional circumstances; and
  • DACA Renewals and the accompanying work authorization should be granted for one-year, rather than two-year periods.

It is clear that the decision by DHS Wolf will negatively affect the pending DACA applications and those individuals who are eligible for this benefit based on the court rulings but are unable to apply. Additional actions may be taken by litigators at this time to challenge the enforcement of this memo. This is an ongoing matter that RIS will continue to monitor. If you have any questions about how these decisions affect you or your religious workers, please contact your assigned RIS Attorney. You can also reach us on our main line at (301) 565-4832 or through email at