After months of speculation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on September 5th that the popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be coming to an end, as ordered by President Trump. This is going to have an enormous impact on the 800,000 young immigrants currently living in the United States, many of whom were taking advantage of the program put in place by the previous presidential administration.
What is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed individuals who came to the United States under certain circumstances to apply for deferred action for a period of two years. That meant they could live, work, and go to school without the dear of deportation for two years, after which the deferment could be renewed. They could even open bank accounts and enroll in school. The program, started by then-President Obama, was extremely popular; nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants took advantage of the unique program and almost 300,000 had already applied for renewal in 2017. You can learn more about the program on our website.
Why is it ending?
The current administration believes that the DACA program was unconstitutional because it gave a legal status to undocumented immigrants. Jeff Sessions, in his September 5th announcements, said:
“The policy was implemented unilaterally, to great controversy and legal concern, after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens. In other words, the executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions.”
A number of Republican members of congress had previously approached President Trump and asked him to address their concerns about the legality of the program, giving him a September 5th deadline to do so or else they planned to take legal action.
When will it end?
Right now, it looks like the program will end in six months. That’s how much time Congress has to act to either change the program or end it completely. The current administration has promised to phase the program out in a non-disruptive manner, but what that exactly means no one is sure yet.
The decision to end the program is being met with a lot of resistance, both from the individuals who benefitted from the program and several large corporations (including Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft) who are currently employing DACA workers. That resistance could lead to a slower phase out or a decision to revamp the program instead of ending it completely.
What options will undocumented immigrants have?
If you are an undocumented immigrant, there are a few things that you should be aware of when it comes to the DACA program:
- The administration is no longer taking new applications for the program as of September 5th, 2017. Any applications received before then will be processed (although that is no guarantee that the program won’t end before the usual two-year expiration).
- If you already have a work permit through the DACA program, those permits will be honored until their expiration date.
- If your DACA status expires before March 5 of next year, you have until October 5th to send in your renewal application.
Congress is looking at passing a measure that would protect any DACA recipients from deportation, although there is nothing in place at the moment. If they don’t pass a measure, then any undocumented immigrants could be in danger of deportation when their status expires in 2018 and beyond. Some immigrant advocacy groups are concerned that information gathered in the DACA process could be used against applicants in order to hasten their deportation.
What should you do right now?
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to contact an immigration lawyer. Whether you call Diron Rutty, LLC serving the Bronx and surrounding areas or a lawyer in your area, having an experienced immigration lawyer is important right now. Your lawyer can offer advice on your next steps, help you avoid deportation, and answer any questions you have about the rapidly-changing situation.
If you have been waiting to send in your renewal application, it’s best to get that done now. If the current administration chooses to honor those renewals, then you’ll get another two years in the country to determine the best next steps for you and your family. This gives you more time to make decisions and put plans into action so you don’t feel rushed. Six months is going to go by quickly; don’t wait to get the paperwork done. If you need help completing the application or aren’t sure if it’s the right move (for some people, it’s not) then you should speak with an experienced immigration lawyer right away.
You Can Get a Free Consultation With an Immigration Lawyer Today
If you aren’t sure how the end of DACA is going to affect you or have other questions about immigration, you can get a free consultation with an immigration lawyer today. The Law Offices of Diron Rutty, LLC is now offering free consultations with an experienced immigration lawyer. We’ve been serving New York City and Poughkeepsie, NY since 1995 and have become a trusted voice on immigration matters. To schedule your free consultation, simply give us a call or contact us through our website. We’ll put you in touch with a lawyer who can answer your questions and help you take the next steps that you need to do in order to secure your future.