Phasing out the DACA Program
By bartlett-weigle | 10/16/17
We at Bartlett & Weigle are extremely disappointed in the Administration’s September 5, 2017 decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) Program. While reasonable minds can differ on the best way to reform our country’s broken immigration system, the vast majority of American support DACA and providing protection from deportation and employment authorization to deserving Dreamers. These Dreamers were brought here as young children and for most this is truly the only country they know. They have pursued an education, work hard, pay taxes and obey the laws of this country. They want nothing more than to live without fear of deportation and positively contribute to this country they love and call home.
This would leave a very uncertain future for these Dreamers who want nothing more than to live without fear of deportation, pursue an education, work, and contribute to this country they love and call home.
We are hopeful that Congress will pass long overdue legislation to protect Dreamers and afford them the opportunity to work lawfully and even pursue permanent resident status as well as one day U.S. Citizenship. However, in the meantime it is important that those who have been granted or are currently pursuing DACA know the facts and how they are affected by the recent announcement:
- Existing DACA Holders: The September 5, 2017 announcement does not immediately revoke or terminate current DACA status and employment authorization for those who have already been granted DACA. As such, your current employment authorization obtained through DACA is valid until the expiration date provided. Please note that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) does have the ability to revoke or terminate one’s DACA status when deemed appropriate under existing guidelines. This generally occurs as a result of criminal conduct; immigration related violations; or traveling outside the U.S. without Advanced Parole.
- Initial DACA Applications: No new initial DACA applications will be accepted after September 5, 2017. For those who filed DACA applications on or before September 5, 2017 which remain pending, those should continue to be adjudicated pursuant to the guidance which has been provided by DHS. If approved, those individuals would receive employment authorization cards for a period of two years.
- DACA Renewal Applications: Pending DACA renewal applications should continue to be adjudicated pursuant to the guidance which has been provided by DHS. For those whose DACA expires on or before March 5, 2018 their renewal applications must be filed before October 5, 2017. Unfortunately, barring a change or new legislation those whose existing DACA expires after March 5, 2018 will be unable to renew their existing DACA and employment authorization.
- Advanced Parole Travel Documents: No new Advanced Parole Travel Documents based on DACA will be issued by DHS. If you have a pending Advanced Parole application, your fees should be refunded to you and the application closed by DHS. If you already have an Advanced Parole Document which has not yet expired, it remains valid. However, strong caution is advised prior to traveling outside the U.S. with an Advanced Parole document, as Customs and Border Protection Officers retain a great deal of discretion in determining who is admissible to the U.S. It is recommended for those with an Advanced Parole through DACA to consult with an experienced immigration attorney prior to any travel outside the U.S.
We strongly encourage all of those with DACA to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss their rights and options. It is important to keep in mind that some of those granted DACA may have other avenues for relief or legalizing their status.