July 2021: A Federal Judge renders a decision limiting the DACA program and declaring it unlawful

On July 16, 2021, in Texas v. United States, a federal judge rendered a decision limiting the DACA program and declaring it unlawful. This disappointing decision again exposes the fragility of DACA and the incontrovertible need for a path to citizenship for American undocumented youth. Individuals who had their DACA status approved prior to July 16, 2021, even if now expired, will be permitted to continue participation in the program. As of July 16, 2021, no first-time DACA request will be approved by USCIS until further notice.

For the full advisory from RICAP, please go here.

May 2021: Undocumented immigrants may get a drivers license in New Jersey

Starting May 1, the Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) announced that New Jersey residents with a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN) will be able to make appointments for driver licenses without regard to immigration status. Individuals who do not have either a Social Security number or ITIN will be able to provide an affidavit to meet this requirement, starting around June 1. Go here for more information and frequently asked questions.

June 2020: US Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration’s Attempt to End DACA

On June 18, 2020, in the Dept. of Homeland Security v. Regents of the Univ. of CA, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered a decision preserving DACA. The Court first determined it had authority to review the Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program because the program conferred immigration relief. In making this holding the court cited past cases where the courts had been called upon to protect individuals’ interests when abridged unreasonably by the government.

In its review, the Supreme Court then held that the rescission of DACA was “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedures Act for two reasons. First, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not provide a sufficient reasoned analysis at the time the DACA rescission was implemented. Second, DHS did not appreciate the full scope of its discretion and how so many people had come to rely on DACA. The court stated that DHS should have explored other alternatives before eliminating the entire policy, crippling the interests of over 700,000 young people. Importantly, the decision DOES NOT foreclose the possibility of rescinding DACA, it simply outlines where the Administration failed to meet the requirements for such a rescission.

For the full advisory, please go here.

December 2019: Legislative update

In December 2019, Governor Murphy signed legislation making New Jersey the 15th state to expand access to driver’s licenses to qualified drivers, regardless of immigration status. New Jersey joins fourteen other states and D.C that have implemented similar measures. It is expected New Jersey will see an increase in public safety, increase in revenues to state and local economies, and increase the well-being of all families – particularly the hundreds of thousands who will gain access to a driver’s license. However, the expansion for driver’s licenses to all has not been implemented, the Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) has to first announce a date when the new potential drivers can start applying. The legislation notes that the MVC has up to 13 months to implement. Please visit https://www.letsdrivenj.org/ for up to date information. 

October 2019: RICAP advisory for DACA renewal applications

Please click here to read the advisory for DACA Renewal Applications.