Civil Justice Warriors

Biden Signs Executive Order to Preserve DACA

President Joe Biden signed an executive order to “preserve and fortify” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on January 20, 2021 – his first day of office.  

Introduced by President Barack in 2012, this program protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have arrived in the United States as young children from deportation and ensures they continue living and working in the country. 

To be eligible for the DACA program, applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • You were younger than 31 years old as of June 15, 2012; 

  • You entered the U.S. prior to your 16th birthday; 

  • Since June 15, 2007, you have continuously lived in the country up until the present time; 

  • You were present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and had no lawful status on the same day; 

  • You are currently in school, have graduated or earned a certificate of completion from high school, or have earned a general educational development (GED) certificate; 

  • You have not been convicted of a felony offense, a serious misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and are not otherwise a threat to national security or the public. 

In 2017, President Trump attempted to terminate DACA. But after several court challenges in June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the previous administration failed to properly rescind the program based on federal law. 

After a December 2020 court order by a federal judge, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had resumed accepting both new DACA applications and renewal requests and that the program must be in operation under the terms in place before it was rescinded on September 2017. 

In addition, Biden’s memo also urged Congress to pass legislation that would provide permanent legal status and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. The president plans to introduce a sweeping immigration reform bill that would allow DACA recipients, individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and undocumented farmers to apply for a green card immediately and may obtain U.S. citizenship after three years. 

For other undocumented immigrants who are physically present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021, they may obtain temporary status and apply for a green card after five years, as long as they pay taxes and pass background checks. After three years, they may apply for citizenship. 

If you are dealing with an immigration matter in Dallas, Houston, or Chicago, contact Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers today at (214) 739-0100 for a free case evaluation. English and Spanish services available.