A memo from Department of Homeland Security’s Acting Secretary Elaine C. Duke has rescinded the memo created by the Obama administration in June 2012 that established Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). A “wind-down” of the program is expected to be carried out by the Department of Homeland Security.
This week’s decision impacts roughly 800,000 “Dreamers,” as the beneficiaries of the DACA program are known, leaving them open to the possibility of deportation once their DACA expires.
The Administration has outlined a few steps, effective immediately, as part of the DACA “wind-down”:
- Pending DACA requests and renewals will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis for the next six months
- USCIS will reject all requests to renew DACA and EAD applications filed after October 5, 2017
- New Form I-131 applications for advance parole will be rejected
- Previously approved advance parole applications will “generally” be honored for the next six months (please seek attorney advice for any travel)
- Pending Form I-131 applications will be closed, and all associated fees will be returned
- Individuals already enrolled are able to continue working until EAD expires
- Individuals whose EADs expire on or before March 5, 2018, can renew by October 5, 2017
The DACA memo originally issued by President Obama in 2012 gave those who entered the United States as undocumented aliens before the age of 16 a period of deferred action and made them eligible to request employment authorization from the U.S. government. USCIS determinations for deferred action have since then been carried out on a case-by-case basis.
In 2014, DHS issued a follow-up memorandum, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which created a similar program for parents of American citizens and lawful permanent residents and also widened the age range and validity period for DACA, DAPA, and the DACA expansion faced litigation charges in 2015, brought on by Texas and a few other states.
A few months ago, in June 2017, the Trump administration rescinded DAPA and the DACA expansion but kept the 2012-established DACA program in place. Now, it will be up to Congress to enact DACA benefits into law within the six-month window or Dreamers will start becoming ineligible for legal jobs, college education, and driver’s licenses.
Alternative options for DACA recipients tend to be limited. Each individual circumstance varies by on a case-by-case basis, so it’s important to reach out to your immigration attorney with specific questions.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can help:
- Call your Congressman
- Sign a letter of opposition
- Speak with your immigration attorney to discuss DACA renewal and alternative option eligibility
We will continue to keep you updated as new information unfolds.