Overview

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a special program created by President Obama through Executive Order that provides temporary authorization for undocumented persons who arrived as children to the US, to remain in the US. It defers the action of removing them from the US for a specific period. During this time, they may study and work in the US. One must apply to the federal government for DACA and, under current policy, DACA can be renewed every two years.

Young people who are eligible for DACA protection are sometimes called “Dreamers,” referring to the proposed “Dream Act” which would have provided legal protection to these undocumented persons, but that Act did not get Congressional approval. Following its demise, President Obama issued the DACA Executive Order.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is still accepting and processing DACA applications. This Resource Page is intended to reinforce JMU’s support of DACA and all our students and to provide informational and support resources. 

August 8, 2018 Update: A court case which is currently pending in Texas is expected to result in an opinion which is in direct contrast to other recent federal court rulings.  Therefore, DACA advocates around the country are strongly encouraging current/prior DACA recipients to submit their renewals immediately.  The advice is as follows: 

  • If your work permit expires within a year from now, you are strongly encouraged to renew your DACA right now. Today.
  • You do not have to wait to be within 120 days to renew
  • You should renew even if your work permit has already expired.
  • DACA renewals could end by the end of THIS month.

Step-by-step guides to renew are available at:

April 24, 2018 Update:  Another federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration may not end the DACA program, and must begin to accept new applications for DACA.  This ruling was stayed for 90 days, giving the government that amount of time to better explain its rationale for its actions.  If the government fails to adequately persuade the judge that the decision was not “arbitrary and capricious,” then the government must begin accepting new applications for DACA at the end of the 90 days.   The court order can be found here. Note that renewal applications are currently being processed.  Therefore, if your DACA status is eligible for renewal, it is strongly recommended that you submit a renewal application as soon as possible.   For more information about the process, please see the USCIS instructions. And, as always, if you have any questions about this, please contact the Center for Global Engagement for individual consultations.   

January 13, 2018 Update: USCIS resumes acceptance of DACA renewal applications. In response to a federal court order, USCIS has announced that they will resume acceptance of DACA renewal applications.  Since this is a District Court order which will certainly be appealed by the government, it is unclear exactly what will happen with those applications if this order is overturned by a higher court.  However, if you are  a DACA recipient whose EAD expires within the next 150 days, and you were not able to submit a renewal previously, you would be wise to consider submitting the application immediately.   The Center for Global Engagement continues to be available for individual appointments should you have questions about this or any DACA-related issues.  

September 5, 2017 Update:  As you have no doubt heard, the Trump Administration today announced that the provisions of DACA are being rescinded, with a plan to phase out the program.  Effective immediately, new applications will no longer be accepted but renewals for those expiring within the next 6 months will be accepted until October 5, 2017.  For more detailed information, see http://lawmh.com/news/detail/summary-of-daca-changes-announced-9-5-17

FAQs from Department of Homeland Security can be found here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/frequently-asked-questions-rescission-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca

On September 6, 2017, fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the DACA Rescission, citing “racial animus” and violation of DACA recipients’ due process rights.  Virginia is one of the states which brought the lawsuit.  

The DACA Rescission presentation from the September 7, 2017 Informational Session can be found here.

JMU's support of DACA students

James Madison University recognizes the inherent value and dignity of every Duke.  Soon after President Obama signed the Executive Order, JMU began welcoming DACA students to campus.  Since that time, they have excelled in and out of the classroom and we count them among our family.  Recently, JMU President Jonathan Alger signed a statement, along with over 550 other university presidents and chancellors, calling for the continuation and expansion of DACA, and indicating support of all our DACA students. 

President Alger's response to the rescission of DACA can be found here.

JMU services to DACA students

The Center for Global Engagement (formerly known as Office of International Programs) will offer support and advocacy to DACA students, including the following:

  • Individual appointments with Delo Blough, a JMU employee and immigration attorney, to discuss specific questions/concerns about DACA;
  • Referral to outside counsel for more comprehensive consultations and/or representation of individual students;
  • Continued monitoring of any legal changes following the inauguration, and immediate dissemination of pertinent information to stakeholders;
  • Assistance with questions about Social Security Numbers and filing Federal Income Taxes.   

JMU faculty, staff, and students with questions about DACA may contact Delo Blough, Associate Executive Director of CGE at bloughda@jmu.edu    

Federal Government Resources
Advocacy and Legal Aid Organizations
For more information see:

For past updates on the status of DACA, please see our DACA Archive.

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