DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation whose purpose is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation, and to provide them with work permits. It does not lead to permanent residency. The Dream Act, which would lead to permanent residency, has not passed. President Trump has announced his opposition to both DACA and the Dream Act.
Initial DACA applications are taking 6-8 months to process at this time. New applicants run the risk of losing $495, giving their information to a potentially hostile Trump administration that may then deny the application, and issue a "Notice to Appear" in removal proceedings against everyone who is denied DACA. The original DACA program promised that even in the event of denial, unless the applicant was deemed to be a threat to national security, information would not be shared with ICE, but we do not yet know the new administration’s priorities. For these reasons, many immigration advocates are recommending against submitting new applications under DACA, even as we advocate for passage of the Dream Act.
If you are considering applying for DACA at the time, we strongly urge that you seek the advice of the City College Immigration Center.
Update- January 14, 2018
National Association of College and University Attorneys
As a result of a nationwide injunction entered by Judge William Alsup of the federal district court in San Francisco, USCIS announced yesterday (Saturday) that it would resume accepting renewal requests for DACA protection from eligible individuals. The program has, at least temporarily, been restored to the same status it held prior to the program's rescission in September 2017, with two important distinctions:
1) Individuals who have never previously been granted DACA protection are ineligible to apply for initial protection.
2) USCIS is not required to consider advance parole requests for DACA recipients.
As a result of this order, individuals who have previously applied for and obtained DACA protection which has since lapsed may be eligible to renew their DACA protection. Additionally, DACA recipients whose protection expires on or after March 5, 2018 (the date set forth in the September 2017 announcement) are also eligible to file their renewal requests if they meet other filing guidelines.
This is obviously a fluid situation, as the administration may very well be taking steps to appeal the injunction and to seek a speedy resolution on the merits given the concurrent discussions about a legislative solution. Nevertheless, this announcement offers a limited window for DACA recipients who were excluded from renewal under the rescission announcement to file a renewal request.
NACUA Immigration Counsel