On January 9, 2018, a US District Court in Regents of the University of California v. DHS issued an order directing the government to partially maintain the DACA program. The court’s decision orders DHS to maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis, under the same terms and conditions that were in effect before the program was rescinded, with the following exceptions:
• New Applications: The court stated that applications from people who have never applied for DACA “need not be processed.” However, the court also noted that the decision does not prevent DHS from adjudicating new DACA applications.
• Advance Parole: The court stated that applications for advance parole based on DACA do not have to be continued for the time being. However, the court also noted that the decision does not prevent DHS from adjudicating advance parole applications based on DACA.
• Discretion: The court stated that the government can take steps to ensure that discretion is exercised fairly and on an individualized basis for each renewal application.
The court’s decision directs DHS to post “reasonable public notice that it will resume receiving DACA renewal applications” and to specify the process by which it will accept renewal applications. As of January 10, 2018, USCIS had not yet released any public guidance on the court’s decision, although it has noted on at least two different USCIS webpages that “more information is forthcoming.”
The court also stated that the decision does not prohibit DHS from taking enforcement action against anyone, including those with DACA, who it determines may pose a risk to national security or public safety or who – in the judgment of DHS – “deserves … to be removed.”