On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the program commonly known as DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Implemented as an Executive Action by President Obama in 2012, DACA provided temporary protected “status,” employment authorization and limited travel authorization to nearly 800,000 children and young people.
President Trump ran on a platform of immigration enforcement, and sadly it is not surprising that the DACA program has been eliminated; yet we all feel a deep sense of sadness at having to deliver the news to our clients, their families, and the employers that have come to rely on DACA recipients.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The Department of Homeland Security has released the details of the wind-down, which will occur in phases. Here are the important highlights:
- No new applications for DACA will be accepted after September 5, 2017. They will be rejected and returned to sender.
- Anyone that holds a current DACA approval that expires before March 5, 2018 may apply for an extension, but that application MUST be received before October 5, 2017.
- Currently-pending applications for DACA renewals will remain pending, and will be considered on a case-by-case basis for approval. It is assumed that this means “business as usual” for these cases.
- No applications for advance parole (I-131) will be accepted or approved after September 5, 2017. This includes pending applications. Those with currently-approved I-131s/ advance parole may continue to use them through the validity period.
- There are no current plans to rescind approved DACA benefits, or terminate them early from those that hold them. In other words, those that have benefits will be allowed to keep them through the end of their validity, even if that date is after March 5, 2018.
- If a current DACA expires after March 5, 2018, there is no longer the ability to renew/ extend that status and benefits.
WHAT ACTIONS SHOULD I TAKE?
|My current DACA will expire before March 5, 2018|
|File an extension of DACA and Employment Authorization before October 5, 2017|
|I never filed for DACA, or my prior DACA expired and I never renewed it|
|Your application will not be accepted, and will be rejected and returned to you|
|I currently have DACA, and it will expire after March 5, 2018|
|You may not file an application to extend/ renew your DACA and employment authorization. Your current DACA, however, should not be terminated before its current expiration date. You may continue to have DACA and related benefits through the expiration date|
|I have DACA and would like to travel. I do not have an approved I-131|
|All pending and filed I-131 applications for Advance Parole will be denied/ terminated/ rejected|
|I have DACA and would like to travel. I have an approved I-131/ advance parole|
|You may continue to use your approved Advance Parole through the expiration date.|
WHAT IS NEXT?
Of course, it is our sincere hope that Congress will act within this window to offer a permanent program for our DREAM-ers. You can help by contacting your Congressman, and putting pressure on your representative to obtain a real solution.
If you have any questions about DACA, or alternative options you may have, please contact us at any time.
[PC: Kirsten Luce for the New York Times (2017)]