What will 2021 bring for DACA and Dreamers?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been in flux for the last few years, putting the future of all “Dreamers” in doubt. Where do things stand now? What’s expected in 2021? Below are some things that you should know.

The Supreme Court punted, but challenges keep rising

The June decision by the Supreme Court that vacated a federal move to end the program was hailed as a victory by many — but it’s a thin one. The Supreme Court didn’t say that the program cannot be ended, only that the government had acted “arbitrarily and capriciously.” If another lawsuit can offer a reasonable basis for ending the program, the Supreme Court may allow it to end. A Texas case that challenges the legality of the entire program is already moving through the courts. In the meantime, the federal government stopped accepting new applications for the DACA program and enacted a rule change that requires people in the program to apply for renewal of their status every year, instead of every two.

The presidential election has given Dreamers new hope

The recent presidential election was also viewed as a hopeful sign for DACA. The President-Elect has vowed to sign executive orders as soon as he takes office on Jan. 20, 2021, to protect the program and reverse some of the recent changes. He’s also pledged to make Dreamers eligible for both Pell grants and federal student loans. Unfortunately, that still won’t give Dreamers a clear path to permanent residency or citizenship. That will take congressional action — and it remains to be seen whether those who support the idea that Dreamers should be given those opportunities can gain the votes. With everything in constant flux, it’s more important than ever for immigrants seeking to remain in the United States to have authoritative representation.

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