Citizenship and Immigration Services return to accepting DACA requests

Sen. Jeff Flake R-Ariz. speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump and lawmakers on immigration policy at the White House on Tuesday

Days after a federal judge in California temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's efforts to pull the plug on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the federal government said on Saturday that it would ― "until further notice" ― resume accepting renewal applications for the program. The administration said at the time it did not have the authority to administer the program and it was up to Congress to make it law.

"Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017", U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a part of DHS, wrote on its website Saturday. Under Alsup's ruling, renewal applications must still be accepted, giving those approved another two years from the new date of their application approval.

Pratheepan Gulasekaram, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, said that while the announcement was welcome news for DACA recipients, much uncertainty remains. "So great great news for DACA that we will now be able to do DACA renewals".

Young undocumented immigrants, known as "Dreamers", rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

More news: Trump hints at 'conceivable' United States return to Paris Agreement

The president reiterated that he wants a merit-based immigration system.

Trump gave Congress six months to find a way to allow immigrant approved for the DACA program to remain in the US permanently. If someone's DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016, that person may file a renewal request, the agency says; people who received DACA that expired before then can file a new DACA request. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, who presented a compromise that included using the 50,000 visas from the current lottery to extend protection to illegal immigrants from countries such as Haiti and El Salvador.

DACA has protected about 800,000 people, many of them college-age students.

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