Current Legal Status:
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) remains in effect
DACA was originally established in 2012 under the Obama administration to protect from deportation young adults who were brought to the United States as children. Under the program, eligible DACA recipients could remain in the US without fear of deportation, could further their education, and could apply for work permits.
After the switch to the Trump administration in 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo rescinding, or terminating, the DACA program. In response, there were several lawsuits challenging the government’s decision to rescind DACA. These lawsuits resulted in a federal court issuing a temporary injunction, which required the federal government to maintain the DACA program while the case made its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Supreme Court Restores DACA Program
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court issued its decision and ruled in favor of the continuation of DACA for the foreseeable future. The Supreme Court held that DHS did not properly rescind DACA because the agency did not follow the appropriate procedures required under a federal law called the Administrative Procedures Act. As a result of the Supreme Court decision, the DACA program remains in effect with all the protections that were established in 2012.
The Supreme Court stated that DHS would have the authority to rescind DACA if it follows the proper procedures. However, because of the length of time that would be required to try to rescind DACA in compliance with the law, it is unlikely that DHS would be able to do so prior to the November presidential elections. Therefore, we anticipate that DACA will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, and are optimistic that it will continue on a long-term basis.
What This Means for DACA Recipients
Current DACA recipients continue to be protected from deportation and are eligible for other DACA benefits, such as work authorization. We anticipate that DHS will provide further specific guidance and instructions on new applications and renewals for DACA. We will keep this page updated as we receive information about how DHS will be processing applications and renewals.
Outside Resources That May Be Helpful
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) information on service availability during COVID-19
- USCIS form (Form I-821D) to apply for or renew DACA status
- USCIS filing tips on completing the form to apply for or renew DACA status
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) DACA Information and resources
- ILRC Annotated DACA Application Guide
Individuals who believe that they are eligible to submit a new application or to renew their existing DACA status should seek advice from an immigration lawyer or legal clinic.
The UH Law Center Immigration Clinic is available to University of Houston System students from all of our campuses who need a free intake consultation. Appointments can be scheduled by calling the clinic's main number at (713) 743-2094. Be sure to indicate you are a student with the UH System and ask for an intake consultation.
The University of Houston is proud of its diverse and inclusive community, including DACA students. The University of Houston will continue to support the efforts of all its students to further their academic studies and will continue to follow state and federal laws as it works to provide educational opportunities for its students. In compliance with those laws, UH does not ask about the immigration status of any student or applicant. Immigration status is not determinative of eligibility for admission or many forms of financial aid, nor of the desire to improve oneself through education.