Deferred Action for Child Arrival (DACA) – What Happens Now?
The Trump administration on Tuesday formally announced the end of the Deferred Action for Child Arrival, or DACA — a program that had protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants also known as “DREAMers,” brought to the United States as children from being deported.
The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications for the program as of Tuesday, September 05, 2017 and rescinded the Obama administration policy.
Here’s What you Need to Know About the Program:
DACA allowed individuals who were brought to the United States as children or teens before mid-2007 to apply for protection from deportation and work permits if they met certain requirements. Beneficiaries had to be under the age of 16 upon entering the country; no older than 31 as of June 15, 2012; lived continuously in the U.S. since mid-2007; be enrolled in high school or college, already have a diploma or degree, have a GED certificate or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. military; and have no felony criminal convictions, significant misdemeanor convictions, no more than three other misdemeanor convictions or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
President Obama created DACA through a 2012 executive order. The program did not provide lawful immigration status. Instead, through what the Obama administration characterized as the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, it granted a deferral from possibly being removed from the U.S. to those who qualified along with work permits. The deferrals and permits were granted for two-year periods and could be renewed for additional two-year periods.
In the five years since DACA was enacted, the nearly 800,000 individuals who received the protections have started families, pursued careers, started their own businesses, and studied in schools and universities across the U.S.
The Trump administration is giving Congress until March 05, 2018 to act in order to preserve the program’s protection before the DACA recipients begin losing their status. Anyone whose status expires by March 05, 2018, has until October 05, 2017, to apply for a two-year permit, and those applications will be processed.
What is Going to Happen to Pending DACA Initial Requests and Pending DACA Renewal Requests?
USCIS will process on an individual case-by-case basis properly pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) that have been accepted as of September 05, 2017.
Additionally, USCIS will process properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for EADs from current beneficiaries that have been accepted as of September 05, 2017, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between September 05, 2017 – March 05, 2018, that have been accepted as of October 05, 2017.
Individuals who have not submitted an initial request under DACA as of September 05, 2017 may no longer apply. USCIS will reject all applications for initial requests received after September 05, 2017.
What is Going to Happen to Current DACA Holders?
Current DACA recipients will be permitted to retain both the period of deferred action and their EADs until they expire, unless terminated or revoked. Current law does not grant any legal status for the class of individuals who are current recipients of DACA. Recipients of DACA are currently unlawfully present in the U.S. with their removal deferred.
What Happens when an Individual’s DACA expires?
Without the program’s protections, the immigrants are considered subject to removal from the United States and would no longer be able to work legally.
What May Happen?
If Congress does not act, then individuals formerly protected would lose their ability to work, study, and live without fear in the U.S. According to officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Dreamers would not be high priorities for deportation, but they would be issued notices to appear at immigration court if they are encountered by federal immigration officers. Further, there are no plans for DHS to use personal information, including home addresses, of Dreamers who registered for work permits to aid in deportation operations unless there is a concern over national security, DHS officials said.
The pressure over the Dreamers now shifts to Congress, where several new proposals have been put forward. One of which includes the Bridge Act, a bipartisan bill with 25 co-sponsors that would extend DACA protection for three years to give Congress time to enact permanent legislation. However, the White House and conservative Republicans are likely to demand additional provisions to boost border security, for example, funding for Trump’s proposed border wall or measures to restrict legal immigration
Children who were brought into the U.S. at young ages by their parents were branded Dreamers for their inspiring stories and regarded by members of both parties as deserving of special status. Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday stated, “To target these young people is wrong—because they have done nothing wrong — It’s a political decision, and a moral question,” Obama wrote. “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”
“This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix, “Obama said. “This is a temporary stopgap measure.”
“I am here because of Immigrants! My parents came to the United States with the goal of giving their children the opportunity to succeed beyond their wildest dreams, I am a first generation Dominican-American who truly believes that our nation was built by immigrants and would not be what it is today without them! Dreamers are Americans in every single way except on paper; I support DACA and stand with Dreamers,” said Attorney Emely Ramirez of Wites & Kapetan.
“To arbitrarily end the DACA program, which benefits our country as a whole, is contrary to our nations values and simply bad policy,” said Attorney Alex Kapetan Jr. of Wites & Kapetan.