The Trump Administration has confirmed that it will be winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. This program, which was established by then-President Obama in 2012, provides work permits and deportation deferments to immigrants who were brought illegally into the U.S. as children. If you are one of these people that are affected, please do not hesitate to contact our firm and see what we can do for you.
The conclusion of DACA means that nearly 800,000 young people known as “DREAMers” (after the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), may soon lose the ability to work legally in the U.S. and even be vulnerable to deportation. DACA supporters have claimed that these young men and women did not come to the country of their own volition and are now being punished because their parents did not have legal status on arrival.
Many of these DREAMers grew up in the U.S., and have publicly stated that they didn’t even know they were undocumented until they ran into difficulties applying for driver’s licenses and student loans because they had no Social Security numbers. They knew that their parents came to the U.S. to give them a better life, and few had any idea that they were here illegally.
So, what does the end of DACA mean for both new and longtime “DREAMers”?
- As of September 5, no new DACA applications are being processed, but first-time applications filed before that deadline are still being processed.
- Current DACA permit holders can still use them until they expire.
- The government will start phasing the program out completely on March 5, 2018. Anyone with a DACA permit due to expire before then will have until October 5, 2017 to renew it for another two years. Permits due to expire before March 5, 2018 cannot be renewed unless the application was submitted before September 5, 2017.
Once their permits expire, DACA recipients will no longer be able to work legally in the United States. They will also lose their driver’s licenses in some states and not be able to travel abroad. Although many fear deportation, the Department of Homeland Security has been instructed to not treat DACA recipients as enforcement priorities unless they have a criminal record.
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have taken legal steps to prevent the Trump administration from revoking the rights and protections that DACA has been providing to young immigrants since 2012. Although Congress has been tasked with creating a legislative solution for them between now and March 5, DREAMers should still seek advice from an experienced immigration attorney.
In Georgia, the Law Office of Judith Delus, P.A. is here to assist any of the estimated 24,000 DACA recipients throughout the state. Judith was a DREAMER as well but through the Immigration process is now a U.S. Citizen who is committed to protecting the rights of those who want to continue living the American dream. To schedule a confidential consultation, call our office today at (678) 601-5580.