DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has given nearly 900,000 recipients—who arrived in the United States when they were children—work permits, higher education opportunities, and deportation protection. However, the future of DACA has been engulfed in a cloud of uncertainty since the program is currently intertwined in a contentious legal battle.
From its inception by the Obama administration to its current status, the following is a timeline of the DACA program:
- June 12, 2012 – President Barack Obama announced the DACA program that would protect “dreamers” (individuals who illegally entered the United States as children) from deportation, as long as they met specific criteria. Admission into the program is renewed every two years.
- August 31, 2016 – According to candidate Trump’s 10-point immigration plan, he promised to terminate DACA and DAPA (Deferred Action for Unauthorized Immigrant Parents), a program which authorized millions of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to work in the country, if elected.
- September 5, 2017 – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that President Trump will cancel DACA and established a plan to phase out the program over the next six months. No new requests would be granted.
- October 5, 2017 – The deadline to renew DACA membership for those whose protections expire before March 5, 2018.
- January 9, 2018 – A federal judge in San Francisco ordered USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to accept DACA renewals throughout the country, criticizing the improper approach of the Trump administration’s plan to phase out the program.
- January 13, 2018 – USCIS announced that the agency will accept all DACA renewals once again.
- January 16, 2018 – The U.S. Justice Department appealed an earlier ruling by the Supreme Court which given dreamers an extension for work permits.
- February 13, 2018 – A federal judge in New York ordered the federal government to continue accepting DACA renewals due to flaws the administration’s argument.
- February 26, 2018 – Supreme Court denied hearing the Trump administration’s appeal to an order made by a district court judge in California—stating the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals must hear the case first.
- March 5, 2018 – The deadline for the renewal of DACA protects passes without eliminating benefits.
- April 24, 2018 – A federal judge in Washington D.C. ruled that the Trump administration is required to accept DACA applications again. The judge gave the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) 90 days to explain why the program was terminated.
- May 2, 2018 – Seven states (Texas, Alabama, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas, West Virginia, and South Carolina) filed a lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), in Texas federal court in order to eliminate DACA.
- August 8, 2018 – The Texas federal court held a hearing to review the plaintiff states’ request to end DACA.