Thousands of Young Immigrants Are Left in Limbo As They Approach Adulthood Without DACA Protections

In Illinois, thousands of young immigrants who are nearing adulthood are currently in limbo as they wait to find out if they will be able to apply for DACA. The Trump Administration announced in Sept. 2017 that the program would end on March 4, 2018, but several lawsuits have been filed against the government to prevent its end. Recently, a federal judge ruled that the government would need to start accepting new applications in addition to processing renewal applications beginning July 24, 2018, unless the federal government can show good cause for why it wants to end DACA.

End of the DACA Program

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program resulted from an executive order that was signed by Obama. This order stated that the removal of young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents was a low priority, and it also gave them the ability to work and attend college in the U.S. Eligible young people could apply for DACA when they turned 15, but many who were eligible did not do so because of the cost.

The Trump administration announced that it was ending the program by March 4, 2018, unless Congress was able to come up with a legislative fix. Congress did not reach an agreement, and several lawsuits were filed against the government. Two previous federal court decisions ordered the government to resume accepting renewal applications for DACA recipients whose statuses were expiring. However, those courts did not order the government to resume accepting new applications from young immigrants who would be eligible for protection under DACA. On April 24, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered the government to resume accepting new applications as well as processing renewal applications. He stayed his decision for 90 days to give the government time to show good cause for why it decided to end the program. If it fails to do so, it may have to begin accepting new applications.

Even if the government is forced to begin accepting applications at that time, it is likely that the decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court. The ultimate outcome cannot be predicted, and a legislative fix is necessary. If the government does begin processing new applications, eligible immigrants might want to apply.