USCIS Issues Implementation Guidance on DACA Policy Changes

USCIS Issues Implementation Guidance on DACA Policy Changes

On July 28, 2020, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, issued a policy memorandum (“Wolf Memorandum”), which made changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. On August 24, 2020, USCIS released guidance on how it will implement these changes.

What additional guidance did USCIS provide?

The USCIS guidance directs its personnel to do the following:

  • Reject all DACA requests (and accompanying applications for Employment Authorization Documents) submitted by those aliens who have never previously received a grant of DACA, as well as refund associated fees. The rejection should be made regardless of when the initial request was filed relative to the Wolf Memorandum.
  • Adjudicate all pending and future DACA renewal requests (and accompanying application for Employment Authorization Documents) from DACA recipients.
  • Generally, reject renewal requests that are filed more than 150 days prior to the recipient’s current DACA expiration, which had previously been accepted. If there are legitimate reasons for filing a renewal request more than 150 days before expiration, USCIS can exercise its discretion and accept it.
  • Allow previous two-year DACA grants to remain undisturbed during their existing two-year period unless terminated for reasons beyond the Wolf Memorandum.
  • Reject and return all Form I-131 applications and associated fees for Advance Parole from DACA recipients filed before July 28, 2020. USCIS advises these applicants to refile under the Memorandum’s new guidance, which denies Advance Parole to DACA recipients absent exceptional circumstances.
  • Not terminate any previously-approved advance parole documents issued to DACA recipients.

The implementation guidance also clarifies the following

  • All granted DACA renewals and accompanying Employment Authorization Document renewals will be valid for 364 days from the date the requests receive final approval.
  • The fee increase for Form I-765 that goes into effect on October 2, 2020, does not apply to DACA-based applications for employment authorization.
  • A determination on whether or not to grant DACA recipients Advance Parole is made based on the totality of circumstances that are presented. DACA recipient has the burden of establishing exceptional circumstances that determine eligibility for parole.
  • Exceptional circumstances that may warrant the grant of advance parole to a DACA recipient may include, but are not limited to:

Travel to support United States national security interests;

Travel to further United States federal law enforcement interests;

Travel to obtain life-sustaining medical treatment which is not available to the recipient in the United States;

Travel to support the immediate safety, well-being, or care of an immediate family member.

  • The Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) will review and update all internal guidance and training materials related to the DACA policy changes to ensure consistency with the Wolf Memorandum and the guidance.

USCIS guidance aims to help facilitate the implementation of the Wolf Memorandum. If you have any questions regarding the implementation guidance and how it may impact your immigration status, be sure to contact your immigration lawyer Chicago.