IMPORTANT UPDATE – PLEASE READ (as of January 28, 2021) – Here’s what you need to know about DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS:

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued a memorandum noting his administration’s intention to both preserve and fortify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). While it is not yet clear what the word “fortify” may mean for the future of DACA, it is apparent that this administration has–at the very least–committed to preserving DACA in its original form.

Recent DACA History

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to end the DACA program was unlawful. This was a huge victory for our clients and community! DACA recipients continued to be protected from deportation and eligible for benefits such as work authorization. Please read EBCLC’s statement about the DACA decision and our commitment to undocumented community members for more information about our next steps.

While the SCOTUS decision should have restored the DACA program in its entirety, the Trump administration substantially limited the program, as announced in a July 28, 2020 Memorandum (“Wolf Memo”) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). However, on November 14, 2020, a federal district court found that this memorandum was issued without legal authority, invalidating the Trump administration’s attempt to restrict DACA. This was a big win! You can read more about the legal case and the latest developments on the National Immigration Law Center’s (NILC) website here and here

On December 4, 2020, a U.S. federal district court ordered that the Wolf Memo be vacated, or be held unlawful and set aside. On December 7, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in response to the order, published a notice on uscis.gov that:

  1. Effective immediately, the government is accepting initial DACA applications, DACA renewal requests, and applications for advance parole from DACA recipients;
  2. Any DACA and Employment Authorization Document (EAD or “work permit”) issued while the Wolf Memo was in effect are extended to two years from the date of issuance and that the government will take steps to provide evidence of this extension in employment authorization;
  3. The government must provide a mailed notice to class members (people affected by the Wolf Memo) by December 31, 2020;

There is a separate pending case in Texas where the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund is representing 22 individual DACA recipients who intervened to be part of the court case. Because MALDEF, along with the private firm Ropes & Gray LLP are the legal representatives in that case they are the best source of information on what might happen in that case. MALDEF’s Texas v. United States Case Summary, issued December 21, 2020 has the latest updates. 

There may be additional changes to the DACA program in the upcoming months. Check back for updates. You can also check the NILC website or the NILC Twitter for the latest updates. Click here for the latest DACA Frequently Asked Questions (December 2020) from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).

First-Time DACA Applicants: All eligible individuals should speak to a legal advocate about applying for DACA for the first time. In general, it is always a good idea for undocumented individuals to be screened for DACA as well as other possible immigration remedies. You may currently be eligible to apply for DACA if you: 

  1. Were born on or after June 16, 1981; 
  2. Came to the U.S. before you turned 16 years old;
  3. Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present time; 
  4. Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time you file your DACA application;
  5. Entered the U.S. without inspection, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012; 
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated high school, or obtained a GED;
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; and 
  8. Are at least 15 years old at the time you file your application, unless you are or were in removal proceedings.

DACA Renewals

UC Berkeley students who need assistance with their DACA renewals can use our online appointment system to book an appointment with the USP legal team/East Bay Community Law Center. We will prioritize DACA renewals for those whose DACA will expire within the next 6 months. If you cannot make one of these appointment times, or you have an urgent matter and no appointments are available, please contact the USP legal team at usplegal@ebclc.org. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

DACA Renewal Clinics

As of March 12, 2020,  we began completing DACA renewals using remote options, including by phone and Zoom appointments. If you are scheduled for an upcoming DACA Renewal Clinic, EBCLC will reach out to you directly with remote options to complete your DACA renewal with us. Please email usplegal@ebclc.org if the sole reason for the appointment is a DACA renewal.

Biometrics (Fingerprinting) Appointments

On Monday, March 30, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process Form I-765, Applications for Employment Authorization, due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) to the public, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allow Reuse of Some Biometrics

Applicants who had an appointment scheduled with an ASC on or after the March 18, 2020 USCIS closures, or who filed an I-765 extension, will have their application processed using previously submitted biometrics. This policy will remain in effect until ASCs resume normal operations.

Rescheduling Biometrics Appointments

If your biometrics appointment was scheduled for a date before March 17, 2020, and you were unable to attend due to COVID-19, you can reschedule your appointment without penalty. Appointment notices contain instructions for rescheduling. Please contact your caseworker or usplegal@ebclc.org for assistance with rescheduling your biometrics appointment.

Additional Information and Resources

  • Read President Biden’s Memorandum regarding DACA here.
  • Follow DACA updates from the National Immigration Law Center here.
  • Click here for the latest DACA Frequently Asked Questions (August 2020). 
  • Read the full SCOTUS DACA decision here.
  • Read ILRC’s summary of the SCOTUS DACA decision here.
  • Visit the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC) Facebook page for discussion in Spanish about DACA and more: https://www.facebook.com/CviicFresno/

Last updated on 01/28/21.

What Is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of temporary administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to give eligible immigrants who came to the United States when they were children protection from deportation. DACA gives certain undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. 

What Are The Requirements For DACA?

  • You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
  • You first came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
  • You have lived continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 until the present;
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you apply;
  • You came to the United States without documents before June 15, 2012, or your lawful status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  • You are currently studying, or you graduated from high school or earned a certificate of completion of high school or GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military (technical and trade school completion also qualifies); and
  • You have NOT been convicted of a felony, certain significant misdemeanors (including a single DUI), or three or more misdemeanors of any kind. Consult with an attorney about ANY contact you have had with law enforcement or immigration authorities.

What’s The Process to Renew My DACA?

Consult a qualified attorney before submitting any application to immigration authorities, particularly if you have had any contact with police or any unauthorized absences from the U.S.:

    1. Get Help: Don’t apply alone.
    2. Collect Evidence: See below for a detailed list of required documents. Remember to only send copies (not originals) of supporting documents.
    3. Complete Applications:
      • G-28 – Notice of Entry of Appearance As Attorney (Optional)
      • G-1145 – E-Notification (Optional)
      • Form I-821D – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals;
      • Form I-765 – Application for a Work Permit;
      • Form I-765WS – Worksheet explaining your economic need to work; and
      • Copy of front/back of current Work Permit.
    4. Submit Applications: Include all supporting documents, two photos and fees. The fee is $495.00 (pay using a check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security). If you are a UC Berkeley student, your application fees will be covered by USP. If using U.S. Postal Service, mail to: USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, PO Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700; If using a courier service (e.g., FedEx, UPS), mail to: USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, Attn: DACA, 1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85034
    5. Background Check and Fingerprints: You will receive a receipt by mail that contains your receipt number and an appointment notice to get your fingerprints taken for a background check.
    6. Final Steps: Once you have been fingerprinted, you will receive either a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision. Approvals of  DACA renewals are sometimes received in as quickly as five weeks, but often take a several months from the date of application.

How do I Apply for DACA if it’s my First Application Ever?

Please schedule an appointment with the USP legal team/East Bay Community Law Center. 

LIST OF DOCUMENTS FOR AN INITIAL APPLICATION:

Below is a list of documents you should have in order to submit your first DACA application:

Proof of Identity and Date of Birth, such as:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Passport
  • Consular I.D./National I.D./Cédula
  • California ID
  • School ID

Proof That You Were Physically Present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012

  • A verifiable, formal document with your name and the date June 15, 2012; or
  • An official document with your name and a date just before June 15, 2012, and another dated just after June 15, 2012.
    (Examples: school records, pay check stubs, bank statements, credit card receipts, etc.)

Proof of Continuous Residence in the U.S. from June 2007 – Present
(You will need to provide approximately one document for every three months from June 2007 through to the present month).

  • School Records
  • Financial Records (taxes, bank statements, credit card bills, rent receipts, utility bills, phone bills)
  • Employment Records (pay stubs)
  • Medical Records (physicals, vaccination records, prescriptions, dental records, etc.)
  • Other records: religious certificates, volunteer records, personal statements, etc.

Proof You Are In School, Have a High School Diploma/GED, or Were Honorably Discharged from the Military

  • School Transcript or Report Cards if currently studying;
  • High School Diploma or GED Certificate; or
  • Military Discharge Papers

Proof That You Entered the U.S. Before the Age of 16

  • School Records
  • Medical Records (vaccinations, physicals, etc.)
  • Expired Visa, I-94 card, or Passport with Entry Stamp
  • Discuss other forms of proof with a legal advisor

Proof That You Are Not Ineligible Due to a Criminal Conviction or a Threat to National Security/Public Safety

  • All applicants will be fingerprinted and subject to a background check of all police, juvenile, and immigration records. If you have ever had contact with the police or immigration authorities, get a copy of your records to review with an attorney before applying for DACA. We can explain how to do this. (Examples: criminal court records, juvenile court records, driving record from DMV, state criminal background check results, FBI background check results, etc.)

Passport Photos

  • Two passport-size color photos. (These may be taken with a number of different smartphone passport photo apps, and then emailed to our team for printing.)

 

DACA RENEWAL

WHO CAN APPLY FOR DACA RENEWAL?

You can apply to renew your DACA if you currently have DACA, if you previously had DACA but it’s expired, or if you had DACA and it was terminated.

You are still eligible for DACA renewal even if:

  • You are now over 31. You cannot age out of the program.
  • You have graduated or are studying at a different school or program.
  • You previously had DACA but let it lapse (expire) without renewing.

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY TO RENEW MY DACA?

If you apply for renewal between 150 and 180 days before the expiration date of your current work permit, you should receive an approval notice and new work permit before your current one expires. While you may apply to renew almost immediately after receiving your new DACA work permit, be mindful that you may have a significant overlap between your current DACA period and your next period of DACA. For other types of EAD (work permit) renewals, USCIS suggests filing around 180 days before your expiration date to allow enough time for USCIS to process your renewal.

USCIS has at various times shifted between prioritizing renewals by date of expiration (so if your DACA expires within 90 days and you file today, it gets processed faster than someone whose DACA expires within 120 days but they submitted theirs three months ago) or in the order that they are received (so if your DACA expires in less than 90 days and you file in the 90 day period before your expiration, you may go without DACA for a period of time). 

It is important to apply for renewal on time to avoid losing protection from deportation, being without valid work authorization, and accruing unlawful presence once your Deferred Action relief expires.

Please check our website for the latest developments and reach out to the USP Legal Team through usplegal@ebclc.org for advice about your particular case.

WHAT’S THE PROCESS?

  1. Get Help:
    • If you are a UC Berkeley student, we encourage you to make an appointment with the Legal Services Program to discuss possible travel or other immigration issues. It is particularly important to speak with a lawyer if your DACA was terminated in the past or you have had any encounters with law enforcement since your last renewal. USP will provide fee assistance to current UC Berkeley students. 
  2. Calculate When to Apply for Renewal: In general, between 180 and 120 days before expiration is best to allow enough time to process your application. Particularly with new initial DACA applications, we anticipate that USCIS may become very busy. Save yourself the stress and renew within the 180 and 120 day window before your current DACA expires. 
  3. Complete Applications:
    • Form I-821D – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Indicate this is a renewal application and only complete sections required for renewal applicants. Provide updated information in those sections.
    • Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization (EAD). Indicate the application is for a renewal EAD (work permit). List your current status as “DACA recipient,” and for question 16 the eligibility category is (c)(33).
    • Form I-765WS – Worksheet. Briefly explain your economic need to work.
  4. Submit Applications: Include two passport photos, copy of current work permit and fee. The fee is $495.00. USP will provide fee assistance to current UC Berkeley students. Pay using a check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Mailing address for California residents:
    USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, P.O. Box 20700, Phoenix, Arizona 85036-0700 (for USPS deliveries); USCIS Phoenix Lockbox, USCIS, Attn: DACA, 1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85034 (for FedEx, UPS and DHL deliveries). 
  5. Schedule Appointment: You will receive a receipt by mail and a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment notice.
  6. Final Steps: After being fingerprinted, you will either receive a letter asking for additional information (called a Request for Evidence) or a final decision.

WHAT DO I INCLUDE IN THE RENEWAL APPLICATION?

Information:
Your renewal application is an update to your initial application. Update your address, any travel you did under advance parole, any arrests or criminal issues that took place since your initial application, and any contact with immigration authorities or the immigration court since your first application.

Make sure that the information in your renewal application is consistent with your initial DACA application. If you need a copy of your initial application, you can request one by filing Form G-639 with USCIS. If your address has changed, include the new address on the application and complete a change of address with USCIS, which you must complete any time your address changes.

Documentation:
You do not need to submit or re-submit any documentation with your renewal application — just a copy of the front/back of your work permit and any updated addresses/places of residence since you last applied.

The exception is if there has been a change since your initial application regarding your Immigration Record (your case is pending in immigration court, you were detained by immigration authorities, etc.), or your Criminal Record (you were arrested, detained, and/or convicted of a crime). If either of these apply to you, consult an attorney, make sure your application reflects this new information, and submit evidence that this change in your situation does not impact your DACA eligibility (for example, the court disposition regarding a criminal case or an immigration judge’s order closing your case).

DACA ADVANCE PAROLE

WHAT ABOUT ADVANCE PAROLE FOR DACA RECIPIENTS?

If you are interested in applying for Advance Parole based on DACA and are new to EBCLC, please follow the instructions above to schedule a consultation. If you are already a client of ours, please contact your EBCLC caseworker. In the meantime, to prepare for an Advance Parole application please be sure you have the following: 

  1. Valid, unexpired DACA Employment Authorization Card (“EAD”) that is valid for at least a year after you plan to apply for Advance Parole. 
  2. Valid, unexpired passport or travel document from your country of citizenship that will be valid for at least 6 months after you plan to travel. 
    • Please note: the last time that Advance Parole was available for DACA recipients there was a high demand for passports from particularly impacted countries (Mexico, Philippines, Korea, El Salvador, Guatemala). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign consulates and embassies may have severely limited services, so if necessary, please start the process of applying for a passport (or to renew your passport) as soon as you can. For example, a recent client of EBCLC’s reported that there is a four (4) month waitlist to renew passports via the Guatemalan Consulate General in San Francisco. If you are planning to do a Study Abroad program, we suggest you prioritize securing your passport well before your planned time abroad.
  3. A reason for traveling that meets the original 2012 DACA Memo guidance (for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes). More information about this is available at this Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) guide

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

  • Please see the section above titled “Additional Information and Resources.” 

Information provided by East Bay Community Law Center, usplegal@ebclc.org.

Last updated on 01/28/21.