DACA Fully Restored to Its Original Terms by Federal Judge

In his decision on December 4, 2020, US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis concluded that the Acting Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was not lawfully appointed, and thus, the most recent DHS memorandum that had limited DACA was not lawful. Due to this decision, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must restore DACA to the terms and eligibility of the 2012 original memorandum and accept initial DACA applications from eligible applicants. USCIS has updated their website to comply with this decision as of December 7, 2020.

The court’s decision comes as a reprieve after consistent attacks on the immigrant community via the current federal administration. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 685k individuals are immediately eligible for initial DACA submission and 400k additional individuals may be eligible in the future. This court decision will allow DACA recipients to have work authorization and temporary protection from deportation, which are vital in order to complete their higher education.

Individuals who are considering applying to the DACA program for the first time should consider legal counsel to discuss their eligibility. We encourage Illinois students to contact the Immigration Law Clinic in the College of Law to seek legal assistance and have an attorney assist them in preparation of their application. Please contact the Immigration Law Clinic by emailing clinic@law.illinois.edu or calling 217.244.9494 to set up an appointment.

If you need any additional support during time, please reach out to the Jorge Mena Robles, Associate Director for Student Support, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (jmena2@illinois.edu).