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For the first time in three years, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been fully restored to its original guidelines.

Building on his federal court decision issued last month that overturned the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) sweeping changes to the DACA program, Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered DHS on December 4 to illustrate that it had begun restoring DACA to its original program parameters as first created in 2012. On December 7, DHS updated its guidance to indicate its full compliance, including:

  • The acceptance of new DACA program applications
  • A return to granting DACA program status renewals for two years at a time
  • A return to an allowance for advanced parole, which lets DACA recipients leave the country without jeopardizing their DACA status
  • A return to renewal of employment authorization documents under DACA for two years at a time

While DHS has illustrated its intent to comply with the order, the agency also indicated that it may “seek relief from [it].” DHS’ future legal challenges to this decision will be limited by the time constraints of the current administration. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration is expected to work towards greater legal protections for DACA recipients, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has indicated that she intends to send immigration reform legislation to Congress within the first 100 days of the new administration.


Liz Clark

Vice President, Policy and Research


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