The End of DACA, At Least For Now
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that the Trump Administration is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA was created through a memorandum in 2012 which gave individuals who entered the United States as children the ability to work—and sometimes travel—for periods of two years at a time.
The program is being rescinded in six (6) months, on March 5, 2018. The administration claims it is giving Congress this time to enact legislation to protect the individuals currently protected under DACA, and I previously wrote about the Dream Act of 2017 which would do just that. Unless and until that legislation is passed and signed by the President, DACA protections will end on March 5.
The memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security specifies what will happen between today and March 5th. The Department will:
- Adjudicate filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization that were already accepted by the Department as of September 5, 2017;
- Reject all DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization filed after September 5, 2017;
- Adjudicate filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization accepted as of September 5, 2017;
- Adjudicate filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization for individuals whose benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 that are filed and accepted by October 5, 2017;
- Reject all DACA renewal requests and associated applications for employment authorization filed after October 5, 2017;
- Allow previously approved deferred action or employment authorization to stay valid until the date of expiration;
- Not approve any new applications for advance parole associated with DACA applications but will honor the validity period for previously granted advance parole documents;
- Close all pending applications for advance parole associated with DACA applications and issue refunds.
The most important dates to remember from this memorandum are October 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. If an individual has a current DACA benefit and/or employment authorization document that expires on or before March 5, 2018, it is imperative to file a renewal as soon as possible and before October 5, 2017.
The other important aspect of this announcement is that previously granted deferred action and employment authorization remains valid—notwithstanding any criminal or other reasons for the benefit to terminate—until the expiration date.
If you have been previously granted a DACA benefit and have questions about your immigration status, contact our law firm for a consultation. If you have a DACA benefit that expires on or before March 5, 2018, contact an attorney to renew your benefits as soon as possible. The attorneys at Joseph Law Firm are happy to help.