President Obama created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012. The DACA program protects certain young people who entered the country illegally from deportation. DACA beneficiaries can get a work permit, a Social Security Number (SSN), and apply for a driver’s license. But, many have contested the legality of the program over the past few years. Trump administration officials argued that the program did not comply with current immigration laws.
In 2017, the Trump administration tried to end DACA. In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Trump administration’s decision. But, officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) disagreed with the Supreme Court decision. In July 2020, former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf announced plans to limit first-time applications.
A New York federal judge later overturned Chad Wolf’s decision in November 2020. On November 15, 2020, this federal judge said that Chad Wolf was an unlawful appointee as Secretary of Homeland Security. The judge ruled that as a result, Mr. Wolf could not stop new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. The federal court then ordered the DHS to begin accepting new DACA applications again.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the DACA program. USCIS has approved 1,334 initial DACA applications since the November 2020 ruling. So far, in 2021, USCIS has approved 1,163 new applicants. USCIS also approved 171 new applications between November 14, 2020, and the end of 2020.
The July 2020 restrictions did not limit DACA renewal applications from previous DACA recipients. USCIS has approved a total of 218,191 DACA renewal requests since mid-November 2020. So far, in 2021, they have approved 156,347 renewals. They also approved 61,844 renewals between November 14, 2020, and the end of 2020.