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DACA to remain in place while district court order is appealed

Last month, a federal district judge ruled that the Trump administration's justification for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was flawed. Therefore, he issued an injunction (order) restoring the program nationwide. This is crucial for the approximately 700,000 Dreamers who have been protected by DACA because the program had been slated to end on March 5.

The Trump administration took the unusual step of skipping the normal appellate process, which would have taken the case next to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Instead, the administration appealed straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, the Supreme Court rejected that appeal and left the district court order in place while the case is appealed to the 9th Circuit.

As you may know, DACA provides eligible young immigrants with work authorizations along with access to insurance and driver's licenses and other benefits of legal residents. It also protects them from deportation despite their technically unauthorized status. To qualify, DACA recipients must have been brought to the U.S. as children before a certain date, have clean criminal records, and meet education and other requirements.

What does the Supreme Court's decision mean for DACA recipients?

Without the injunction, on March 5 approximately 1,000 DACA recipients would have begun losing their protection from deportation and work authorizations each day. This, according to the federal district judge, would have led to harmful ripple effects throughout the U.S. economy and healthcare system.

The Supreme Court's denial of this appeal left the federal district court's nationwide injunction in place. That means the DACA program will remain in place even past March 5.

In the meantime, the administration can pursue an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then petition the Supreme Court again. The program will remain in place during these appeals.

The district court judge also ordered the Department of Homeland Security to process DACA renewal applications on the same terms as before. The government is not required to accept any new applications.

Moreover, DACA recipients can be deported if they fail to maintain their qualifications or if they are found to be a risk to public safety or national security.

Also, the government is not required to grant what is called "advanced parole," which would allow a DACA recipient to travel abroad and then return to the U.S. Under the terms of the program, DACA recipients must remain in the United States to maintain their qualifications.

If you are a DACA recipient and are unsure of your rights, or if you would like to renew your status, we recommend contacting an immigration lawyer.

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