Today, the U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions formally announced the end of the immigration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), which has protected nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and provided them with legal work authorization. his is disheartening to youth who have contributed so much both economically and culturally.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) will stop processing any initial DACA accepted after September 5, 2017. Any applications already accepted by this date will be processed. DHS indicated that current beneficiaries of DACA will not be impacted before March 5, 2018, so “Congress can have time to deliver on appropriate legislative solutions.” DHS has also announced that it plans to continue to accept DACA renewal applications for any DACA beneficiary whose status expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, so long as these applications are accepted by October 5, 2017. Any applications received after October 5 will be rejected. In addition, DACA recipients whose valid employment authorization document is lost, stolen or destroyed may still request a replacement through the normal process. However, DHS will no longer adjudicate advance parole request associated with DACA, any that are currently pending will be administratively closed and filing fees refunded.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services maintains that information provided in support of the application will not be proactively provided to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings, unless the requestor meets the criteria for the issuance of a Notice to Appear or a referral to ICE under USCIS” Notice to Appear guidance. However, a DHS spokesman stated that if Congress does not act, then DACA beneficiaries would be treated as any other person who is in the country illegally. Additionally, all of the information provided to the government by DACA applicants will remain in the DHS system. DHS has provided a Frequency Asked Questions webpage which includes valuable information related to today’s announcement.
Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association noted, “Make no mistake: this announcement kills the DACA program that has benefited so many Dreamers and the communities they live in, and our country as a whole. To add insult to injury, Attorney General Jeff Sessions used the announcement of this decision to accuse Dreamers of stealing jobs and threatening our culture. That is not only wrong, it is offensive. The administration is pandering to nativists and bowing to the threats of a few state attorneys general who fail to recognize the constitutional authority of the executive branch that past Republican and Democratic presidents exercised for decades. By abandoning these young people, the administration is conceding far more than it gains from fulfilling a reprehensible campaign promise. But that’s the choice the President has made, to forsake America’s future and the lives of these young people who aspire to be a part of that future. We now look to Congress to live up to America’s fundamental principles and stand up for Dreamers.”
Should you have any questions about the rescission of DACA, please contact a Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP attorney to discuss your case.