On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration presented information on discontinuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program, established under the Obama Administration, was established in order to protect a number of young immigrants who met certain age, educational, and character requirements, including a long term of presence in the United States, as well as having no significant criminal history.
The Trump administration has announced a "wind-down period," during which the administration will stop accepting new applications for DACA and allow the current DACA benefits held by hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to expire. The administration, at this point, will accept no new applications for DACA.
Very importantly, if you have any question about your immigration status, please contact an immigration attorney to determine whether any other benefits or defenses might be available to you to gain a more secure immigration status here in the United States. A few key points about changes to DACA are as follows:
1) If you currently hold DACA, it will remain valid until its expiration: Those who are current DACA beneficiaries will remain able to work on their current work permit until the permit expires.
2) USCIS will not accept new applications for DACA: Those who have never received DACA as a benefit before will not be able to apply for DACA at this time.
3) DACA Renewals must be Completed Quickly: If your DACA work authorization will expire before March 5, 2018, you must submit your renewal application before October 5, 2017. This application for a two year renewal can still be done assuming that you do not have any other issues, such as extended absences from the United States, or criminal issues, that make you ineligible for DACA renewal.
4) Advanced Parole for travel Abroad will not be granted: DACA beneficiaries will no longer be granted advanced permission to re-enter the United States after travel abroad.
5) There is still hope: Legislation, such as the bipartisan DREAM Act, may be enacted to protect DACA beneficiaries. At the same time, there is litigation which calls into question whether the Trump administration had the authority to discontinue the DACA program. A number of state attorneys general, as well as the University of California, are leading the charge in litigating these issues. Any of these methods may work in helping protect DACA beneficiaries from losing their protected status.
Every immigration case is different. Depending upon your circumstances, other immigration benefits may even be available to you. Our office is committed to helping DACA beneficiaries to obtain any benefits that may be available, and we welcome your questions during this uncertain time.