Stealth Rescission: An Analysis of the Impact of the Secretary’s July 2020 Memorandum on DACA

On July 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a memorandum detailing several significant changes to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This memorandum reduced renewals to one-year, expressly prohibited the adjudication of initial requests and advance parole requests. These changes, however, have significant implications on continued existence and administration of DACA, likely leading to a functional end for most applicants. In effect, the memorandum serves to double the workload of DACA adjudication at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), double the price of applying, and increase gaps between DACA grants by compounding wait times at USCIS. Through these changes, DHS has hamstrung DACA to the point of functionally ending the policy. This policy change is particularly concerning in light of the Supreme Court ruling on June 18, 2020, that declared the administration’s termination of DACA unconstitutional and ordered a return to the pre-termination standards.

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