Back in September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the current administration would be seeking to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program that was started in 2012. The announcement had an enormous impact on the 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the United States. Many of these immigrants are very young and have only ever known the United States as their home; regardless, the end of DACA means they are living under the threat of deportation unless the government provides them with a clear and quick path to legal immigration status.
Originally, the current administration said they would seek to end the program in six months and would be working with Congress to make it happen. What, exactly, the end of DACA means has yet been unclear. Congress may choose to end the program in its entirety, they may gradually phase it out, or they may simply make changes to it. That uncertainty is more worry for the Dreamers currently living and working in the United States since as of right now, they don’t know what the future holds for them.
However, it looks like the original six-month plan may be speeding up, so for better or for worse, DACA program participants may have an answer sooner rather than later.
Congress Seeking DACA Decision by Christmas
The increased momentum is thanks to the spending bill that will be passed in December. This bill bundles together a number of spending proposals that need to be passed on by Congress. Some senators, including Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have stated publically that they won’t vote in favor of this spending bill unless it includes measures to help fix the DACA program. There are enough Senators, both Republican and Democrat, who are voicing their concerns about including DACA reform in the bill that there is a good chance the budget won’t pass if the issue isn’t addressed. Republicans, at this point, aren’t especially confident that they have the votes required to pass the bill without the support of their Democrat counterparts.
But what will the spending bill include? Many are hoping that it provides amnesty to those who are currently in the program, allowing them to remain in the United States and provide them with a path to citizenship. However, some members of Congress could push for a complete elimination of the program and deportation of any undocumented immigrants who are currently in the country. It remains to be seen what will happen, but it looks like answers could be coming sooner than expected.
What Dreamers Can Do in the Meantime
If you are currently in the country as an undocumented immigrant, whether or not you are participating in the DACA program, it’s important that you don’t panic. Decisions haven’t been made yet and there is still every chance that Congress decides to continue the program or even provide amnesty for those who are currently in the country. However, you should make preparations. This is a good example of a time when you should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Here are some of the things that you can do to ensure you are prepared for the end of the DACA program.
Things You Can Do to Prepare for the End of DACA
- Get your identification in order. This includes driver’s licenses, social security cards, and any other official, legal identification that you can obtain. This will be helpful in case your work permit is revoked and you need to travel, seek housing, or other assistance.
- Know your rights. Even if you are an undocumented immigrant, you have rights! Make sure you read up on what they are, familiarize yourself with the terminology, and always be polite and respectful when asserting them.
- Keep the number of an experienced immigration attorney with you. Program it into your phone or keep their business card in your wallet. It’s best to meet with them for a consultation, too, before you need to call on their services so they are familiar with your case. Most immigration lawyers will provide you with a consultation for free.
- Don’t open your door for ICE agents unless they have a signed warrant. Ask them to slip it under your door for you to examine. You do not have to allow them to enter into your home unless they can provide you with the warrant.
It’s important to remember that whatever happens with DACA, it won’t happen overnight. Ending the program could take months, even years if it gets tied up in court. You should have time to make preparations, if necessary, to leave the country.
Do You Have an Immigration Lawyer?
If you are currently participating in the DACA program, there is no doubt that you probably have many questions about what you should be doing and what you might need to do in the future. If you aren’t already working with an immigration attorney in the Bronx who you trust, then get in touch with Diron Rutty, LLC. Our law office focuses on immigration law and we provide free consultations to those who are seeking help. Simply give us a call or contact us through our website and request a consultation. You’ll be able to sit down with an experienced immigration attorney who can answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action moving forward. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind and get in touch with our team today to schedule your consultation.