The Dismantling of DACA: What Does the Future Hold?

a man holding up a sign that says nation of dreamers in response to the recent DACA newsDACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals) is an American immigration policy that allows individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as a child to receive a renewable two-year deferred action from deportation and allows them to be eligible for a work permit. The policy was announced in June 2012 by President Obama, but in September 2017, President Trump announced his plan to phase out the program. This was put on hold for six months to allow Congress time to pass the Dream Act or some other form of legislation that would offer protection for Dreamers. However, they failed to meet their deadline of March 2018. The phase-out of DACA has been put on hold by several courts as they believe it is likely unconstitutional. As the litigation proceeds, they have allowed the program to remain in place.

In recent DACA news, as of August 2018, anyone who has ever had DACA status may apply for renewal. However, the program is not accepting new applications under any circumstance. If you are currently listed in the DACA program, you are not guaranteed re-entry if you leave the country.

Benefits of DACA

Under DACA, Dreamers are allowed to reside in the U.S. without being pursued for deportation by the U.S. government. Though this protection only lasts for two years, it is renewable, so it is encouraged that you reapply four to five months before your two years is up. When you apply for DACA, you may also request work authorization if you are able to prove you have an economic need to work. Depending on which state you reside in, there may be more benefits than just deferred action. Some states offer Dreamers driver’s licenses and in-state tuition.

DACA News After Decision to Rescind the Program

There is much uncertainty surrounding the DACA news as President Trump wants to rescind it completely, but others have opposed, which has lead to the government only accepting renewal applications rather than new applicants. The fate of Dreamers in Congress also holds a lot of uncertainty and little progress. In February, the Senate failed to pass three immigration bills which would have provided a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

a picture of the US immigration and customs enforcement logo to show that the DACA program is ending and ICE is beginning to take actionThe protections DACA recipients have is currently technically secure. The Department of Homeland Security has been ordered to follow 2012 guidelines and are not allowed to share DACA recipients’ information with ICE.

Conservatives have long disliked DACA, claiming that it rewards illegal immigration. They also have complained that the program is beyond the power of the president and his administration. The reason the Trump administration called for the program to be terminated within a six-month window was in response to Republican-led states who threatened to challenge the program in court, believing this challenge would invalidate the program immediately.

DACA Work Authorization

Since there is no immediate end to current grants of DACA or work permits, your employer should not ask for your work authorization again until it is set to expire. At this time, you will have to present a new work permit. This could be by renewing your DACA and work permit, or by obtaining a work permit on another basis. If you fail to get your work permit renewed, it is very likely your employer will lay you off when your work permit expires. You may be able to negotiate with them to allow you a leave of absence until you obtain a new work permit, however, they have no obligation to agree.

Driving Under DACA

When it comes to your driver’s license, it mainly depends on what state you reside in. In some states, a DACA recipients’ driver’s license expires when their deferred action grant or work permit does. When your license expires, you may have to show proof that you are lawfully present in the U.S. or have a specific immigration status that is not DACA to renew your license. Whereas in some other states, anyone who is an eligible resident (regardless of immigration status) within that state is allowed a driver’s license.

Educational Opportunities With DACA

When it comes to education, most public colleges and universities allow undocumented immigrants to enroll. So, if you are a former DACA grantee, you will still be allowed to pursue a higher education. However, some states like Alabama and South Carolina and specific schools will not permit DACA grantees — so you won’t be able to attend those schools regardless of your DACA status.

Consult With An Immigration Attorney

a hammer and gavel as well as an American flag resting on a table that is owned by a Vienna, VA immigration attorneyThe future of DACA news is uncertain, so you should take precautions so that you will be able to survive should the program be terminated. This can include things like authorizing someone else to pick up your paycheck if you are unable to do so, keeping a detailed record of what banks you have accounts with and information about those accounts, adding someone to your car lease so they have the ability to make payments or sell it for you, and begin to save money just in case you need it in the future. Reach out to an immigration attorney for more information about DACA news and how to enlist legal counsel for your specific case.

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