On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced that he was ending DACA . . . sort of. Its true, DACA, formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is ending as we have known it since 2012 when President Obama created the program. However, its important to remember, the program is not ending immediately for people who already have DACA or who have already applied for DACA for the first time. If you have already applied for DACA, or applied to renew your DACA, or have DACA, today’s announcement does not effect you immediately. But that doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about.
Today’s announcement immediately stops anyone who does not already have DACA from applying for it. It also stops anyone who has DACA from applying for advanced parole, which is a benefit that allows people without a lawful immigration status to leave the U.S. and return without a visa. Advanced parole is important for DACA recipients for two important reasons, 1) people without status in the U.S. cannot usually travel abroad and return to the country legally without advanced parole and 2) once a DACA recipient travels outside of the country and returns on advanced parole, they may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status through a family member when they were not eligible previously because they had entered the country without inspection and admission or parole.
If you have DACA, or have already applied for DACA for the first time, it is important to know how today’s announcement affects you and what you can do to protect your immigration status.
Here is a breakdown of what the Department of Homeland Security did today in regards to DACA according to the acting Secretary for the Department, Elaine Duke:
Recognizing the complexities associated with winding down the program, the Department will provide a limited window in which it will adjudicate certain requests for DACA and associated applications meeting certain parameters specified below. Accordingly, effective immediately, the Department:
- Will adjudicate—on an individual, case-by-case basis—properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents that have been accepted by the Department as of the date of this memorandum.
- Will reject all DACA initial requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed after the date of this memorandum.
- Will adjudicate—on an individual, case by case basis—properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents from current beneficiaries that have been accepted by the Department as of the date of this memorandum, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between the date of this memorandum and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted by the Department as of October 5, 2017.
- Will reject all DACA renewal requests and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents filed outside of the parameters specified above.
- Will not terminate the grants of previously issued deferred action or revoke Employment Authorization Documents solely based on the directives in this memorandum for the remaining duration of their validity periods.
- Will not approve any new Form I-131 applications for advance parole under standards associated with the DACA program, although it will generally honor the stated validity period for previously approved applications for advance parole. Notwithstanding the continued validity of advance parole approvals previously granted, CBP will—of course—retain the authority it has always had and exercised in determining the admissibility of any person presenting at the border and the eligibility of such persons for parole. Further, USCIS will—of course—retain the authority to revoke or terminate an advance parole document at any time.
- Will administratively close all pending Form I-131 applications for advance parole filed under standards associated with the DACA program, and will refund all associated fees.
- Will continue to exercise its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action at any time when immigration officials determine termination or denial of deferred action is appropriate.
What does this mean in understandable terms?
- If you have already filed for DACA as of today’s date (September 5, 2017) USCIS will consider your application.
- If you file for DACA for the first time after today, USCIS will reject your application.
- If your DACA/Work Permit is set to expire on or before March 5, 2018, you can apply to renew your DACA/Work Permit, BUT you must file before October 5, 2017.
- If your DACA/Work Permit expires on or before March 5, 2018 and you don’t apply to renew both by October 5, 2017, your application will be rejected.
- If you have not already applied for and received approval of your I-131 Application for Advanced Parole through DACA, USCIS will reject all new DACA-based I-131 filings requesting Advanced Parole.
- Any pending I-131 Applications based upon DACA not already granted will be closed and the filing fees returned to the Applicant.
- Anyone with DACA can have their DACA terminated or renewal denied at any time by the Department if they deem it appropriate.
So what does all of this mean for people with DACA? You need to go see an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney as soon as possible to discuss your immigration options now that DACA is going away. Stay tuned for future blogs on what options current DACA recipients have, and should act upon immediately as DACA is going away.
John is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Immigration and Nationality Law and has been practicing law for over a decade. He focuses his practice on immigration and criminal defense. John has extensive experience as both an immigration attorney and a criminal attorney. John served as a Senior Attorney with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As an ICE Attorney, John handled all forms of removal/deportation proceedings including those involving aggravated felonies, drug trafficking, national security and human rights issues, and more. John also handled cases involving all forms of deportation/removal relief including asylum, withholding of removal, cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents and for those who are not lawful permanent residents, adjustment of status, 212(c) relief, and many others. As an ICE attorney, John obtained Top Secret Clearance and assisted federal and local law enforcement officers assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). John has also served as a panelist and guest speaker at many Immigration and Criminal Law events throughout Florida and has provided multiple CLE-accredited trainings to attorneys. John has appeared on national and local television to talk about immigration issues and criminal cases. John has appeared live on the FoxNews Network national TV show Fox&Friends multiple times to discuss immigration, border security and national security issues.