Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a U.S. immigration policy created by the Obama Administration in June of 2012 that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year relief from deportation known as “deferred action.” It also allows recipients to apply for work authorization during that two-year period. This was an executive action that only deferred removal and does not confer any change in legal status to the immigrants who meet the eligibility requirements. More than 800,000 undocumented youth nationwide received DACA. In Washington, approximately 18,000 undocumented youth are DACA recipients. 

In 2017, the Trump Administration attempted to rescind the DACA program, but were unsuccessful; there have been continuing legal challenges to the program that have led to continuing uncertainty. While the Biden Administration quickly affirmed its commitment to DACA recipients, the uncertain future of the DACA program, as well as any Congressional action that would lead to a permanent status process remains an ongoing challenge.

On July 16, 2021, Judge Andrew Hanen, a federal district court judge in Texas, ruled that the DACA program was unlawful, but put part of the decision on hold. The court ordered U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) stop processing new DACA applications, as well as accompanying requests for employment authorization, until the litigation is resolved. In the meantime, the court has allowed USCIS to process DACA renewals, along with the accompanying requests for employment authorization. Current DACA recipients are also able to continue applying for Advanced Parole, and USCIS will process those applications, however applications have been known to take up to six months for non-emergency cases.

On July 27, 2021, USCIS updated its guidance to reflect how the agency will implement the court’s decision, which stated that USCIS will only make decisions on Renewal DACA applications. USCIS concluded that renewals are considered to be either:

  1. Applications filed where the application was either filed by an individual with current DACA status, or
  2. Applications filed by an individual whose DACA status expired less than a year ago.

Therefore, if somebody’s DACA status expired more than a year ago, USCIS considers the application to be a Renewal, and USCIS will treat the application as a subject to the permanent injunction, which means that USCIS will not make decisions on Renewal as Initial applications while it waits for the court process to play out. For those who had an Initial application or a Renewal application pending on July 16, 2021, those applications will remain pending.

In September 2021, the Biden Administration appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit.

On July 6, 2022, a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments concerning whether the DACA program is lawful. The Fifth Circuit is expected to rule on the case in the coming months, with the losing side likely to seek further review by the full bench of the Fifth Circuit, and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court.

As of October 5, 2022, DACA is considered unlawful according to the decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Current recipients can still benefit from DACA; however, renewals are only applicable for those who are within a year mark of the expiration date. If your DACA expired more than a year ago, the application will not be processed. Advanced Parole also continues to be available for current DACA recipients. First-time applications will unfortunately not be processed by USCIS at this time. Despite this update, DACA's status continues to be reviewed and questioned. Any further updates will be posted.

General Information about DACA

DACA Renewal Assistance & Funding Resources

How to Easily Renew Your DACA in 2022 webinar and guide from United We Dream.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project has DACA renewal clinics.

Mexican Consulate in Seattle is offering financial assistance to DACA recipients of Mexican origin. In order to apply for these funds, you have to go to an in-person interview Monday through Friday, anytime between 8:30am and 2pm.

  • Please take the following documents with you to the Mexican consulate:
    • birth certificate (Mexican)
    • Identification (state ID or license)
    • DACA work authorization card
    • social security provided through DACA
    • Proof of address (mail, etc.)

THE DREAM.US has a has a list of organizations providing financial assistance for people who can renew DACA.