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DACA – Who’s in Charge?

By James Pham

James Pham is an Attorney at Law for the Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic in Riverside, CA.  He provides counsel in all aspects of Removal Defense such as Asylum applications, Cancellation of Removal 42(B) applications and preparation for Bond Hearings for detained clients.  James also supervises the DACA and Naturalization Departments at the firm. 

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court, in a landmark 5-4 decision, ruled that the Trump Administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program violated the Administrative Procedures ActSee Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of California, 591 U.S. ___ (2020).

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four more liberal members in upholding the executive action by President Barack Obama that established the program.  But the Chief Justice made clear that the decision was based on procedural issues and that the Trump administration could try to redress them.  

On July 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security issued a Memo entitled “Reconsideration of the June 15, 2012 Memorandum Entitled ‘Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children.’” Acting Secretary Chad Wolf directed all DHS personnel to take all appropriate actions to reject all pending and future initial requests for DACA, to reject all pending and future applications for advance parole absent exceptional circumstances, and to shorten DACA renewals down to 1-year intervals.

What is Going on with DACA Now?

When President Barack Obama established DACA in 2012, over 700,000 undocumented applicants who were brought to the U.S. as minors by their parents have been able to complete their education, obtain work permits and contribute to the United States economy.

Here are the current requirements for DACA applicants.

Many reasons exist as to why most Americans support a path to U.S. Citizenship for Dreamers.  Listed below are a few.  DACA recipients and their households:

  • Contribute $42 billion to our annual GDP;
  • Pay over $1.7 billion annually in state and local taxes;
  • Pay $4.7 billion annually in federal taxes.

Because DACA recipients are eligible to obtain EAD Work Permits, research shows that DACA has increased the wages and labor force participation of DACA-eligible immigrants and reduced the number of undocumented immigrant households living in poverty.

Immigration advocates also point out that unless Congress takes action, “hundreds of thousands of young people will be ripped from their loved ones, their communities, and their jobs, with devastating consequences for their lives, and for the U.S. economy.”

ILOHB’s Position on DACA

The Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic “ILOHB” will begin accepting New Initial DACA Applications and continue to file Renewal DACA Applications despite the July 28, 2020 Memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  ILOHB will follow the Supreme Court’s June 18, 2020 ruling in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California and the Federal District Court’s ruling where Judge Paul Grimm orders the Department to abide by the Supreme Court decision.  Casa de Maryland v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, No. 8:17-cv-02942-PWG (D.Md. July 17, 2020).

It is well-settled law that interpretations by the Judiciary overrule conflicting agency interpretations.  See e.g. Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resource Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984); INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 447 (1987).  Even policy or interpretative statements afforded some deference under Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134 (1944) are not controlling upon the courts.

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