In a development which took the much of the immigration law community by surprise, a Federal trial court in Northern California has issued an injunction against the Executive Branch, breathing new life into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On January 9, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup issued a 49-page decision, ruling as follows:
Defendants ARE HEREBY ORDERED AND ENJOINED, pending final judgment herein or other order, to maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis onthe same terms and conditions as were in effect before the rescission on September 5, 2017,including allowing DACA enrollees to renew their enrollments, with the exceptions (1) that newapplications from applicants who have never before received deferred action need not beprocessed; (2) that the advance parole feature need not be continued for the time being foranyone; and (3) that defendants may take administrative steps to make sure fair discretion is exercised on an individualized basis for each renewal application.
While this is extremely encouraging news for DACA-holders who were unable to renew or extend their status in light of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' termination announcement last year, we must wait and see whether the Government appeals the decision, and, if so, what the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decides. In the meantime, DACA-holders who were shut out of the renewal due to the arbitray October 5, 2017 cutoff date should gather documentation, stay tuned, and consult with a competent immigration lawyer and/or well-informed community agency to be prepared to file as soon as is reasonably possible.
As always, we will seek to share all important developments, and remain available to answer individual questions. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.