On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced that the popular immigration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will no longer continue after March 5, 2018. This program was initiated by President Obama on June 15, 2012 to help those children and young adults who had been brought to the United States at a young age and lacked lawful immigration status to obtain a work permit and have protection against deportation.
The DACA program required that the applicant have entered the United States before age 16, have been present in the United States since June 15, 2007, not have any disqualifying criminal history, and have either graduated from high school, earned a GED, be currently attending school, or have served in the armed forces. Nearly 800,000 young people have benefited from the DACA program during the past 5 years. DACA recipients could also apply for a travel permit, known as Advance Parole, in order to travel abroad for approved educational, employment, or humanitarian reasons. Many recipients of DACA used this travel permit to visit family members that they hadn’t seen in years.
With regards to the logistics of the wind-down of DACA, USCIS has stated the following:
- No initial applications for DACA will be accepted after September 5, 2017.
- No new applications for Advance parole will be accepted for DACA recipients. For those DACA recipients who had already been approved for Advance Parole, they can still travel and be admitted with their approved Advance Parole documents. For those DACA recipients who have a pending application for Advance Parole, their application will be denied and the filing fees of $575 will be refunded.
- All current DACA recipients will be allowed to keep their work permits until the expiration date listed on the permit. DACA recipients with work permits that expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, will be able to submit their applications to renew their DACA status and work permit until October 5, 2017. Note that the application must be received by USCIS by October 5, so don’t delay in sending it in!
If you currently have DACA and your work permit expires prior to March 5, 2018, make an appointment with one of our immigration attorneys TODAY in order to prepare and file your renewal application. Remember, if you are eligible, filing your renewal application in a timely fashion can gain you valuable time to figure out what will be your best course of action moving forward. You may also be able to determine if you perhaps qualify for any other immigration benefit by speaking with one of our immigration lawyers.