On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced the winding down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to end on March 5, 2018.
Referencing a letter from the “Attorneys General of Texas and several other states” threatening legal action, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Press Release indicated that they were “faced with two options: wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation; or allow the judiciary to potentially shut the program down complete and immediately.”
In lieu of executive action, the President has urged congress to pass some form of the Dream Act which is described in our August 21, 2017 Immigration Update© DREAM Act of 2017 Would Offer a Pathway to Permanent Residency for DACA Recipients.
The DACA Program
Under the DACA program, which began in 2012, undocumented students and young adults under the age of thirty who arrived in the U.S. under the age of sixteen, have not committed a serious offense, and meet certain requirements regarding continuous residence and school enrollment, graduation or military service were eligible for deferred action on removal and employment authorization.
The DACA program was not “amnesty” and did not provide a pathway to legal residency or citizenship. Rather, the program was a way for certain individuals who had entered the United States as children to contribute to the U.S. economy once granted work authorization.
Impact of Delayed Termination of the DACA Program
The delayed termination of the original DACA program means that effective September 5, 2017:
- No new DACA applications will be accepted. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue adjudicating Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications that were received by USCIS before this date.
- Current DACA beneficiaries, with expiration dates between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, have one month to extend their work authorizations as USCIS will continue to accept DACA extension and EAD applications through October 5, 2017 for soon-expiring DACA beneficiaries.
- USCIS will no longer approve any new Form I-131 Applications for Advance Parole travel documents to DACA recipients, and pending travel applications will be administratively closed with filing fees reimbursed to applicants.
- DACA benefits and existing EADs will not be cancelled and will remain valid until their pre-printed expiration dates.
- DHS has indicated that DACA beneficiaries are not expected to become a removal priority and that address and biographical information provided to USCIS in DACA applications will not be forwarded automatically to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for enforcement action. However; DHS reserves the right to change these decisions and begin removal proceedings on a case-by-case basis.
As new details impacting the DACA program emerge, Foster will provide additional information via in future Immigration Updates© and via our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.