On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “wind-down” of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Naturally, many people are questioning what that means, and so we have prepared a brief summary of the DACA rescission information, based on what is currently known.
The DACA program is scheduled to officially end on March 5, 2018. Beginning September 6, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer accept initial DACA requests. This means that if someone has never applied for DACA in the past, they will not be able to apply now. However, USCIS will continue accepting renewal applications for DACA for one more month until October 5, 2017, as long as the applicant’s current DACA status expires before March 5, 2018. DACA recipients who have a work card expiring on or before March 5, 2018 should contact an immigration attorney immediately about filing a renewal application in order to have the application filed by the October 5 deadline. After October 5, 2017, USCIS will not accept any more DACA renewal applications.
Current DACA work cards will stay valid until the expiration date listed on the card. In other words, DACA recipients can continue using their work permits until they expire, even if that expiration date is after March 5, 2018.
Another major component of the DACA announcements involve the end of advance parole for DACA. USCIS will not issue any more advance parole (travel) documents based on DACA. It appears that advance parole applications that are currently pending will be closed without a decision and the filing fees will be returned to the applicant. No new advance parole applications will be accepted, but advance parole documents that have already been issued will continue to be valid through the listed expiration date. It may be wise, however, to consult with an immigration attorney prior to using a DACA advance parole document in order to get the most updated information about if anyone has had problems re-entering the United States using a DACA advance parole document.
A final concern for many people is whether the information given to USCIS on DACA applications will be used by ICE to put people into removal proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security has stated in its DACA FAQs that there are no plans to share DACA information with ICE unless that person appears to be a public safety risk or there is evidence fraud with their DACA application. President Trump has also confirmed, however, that DACA recipients may be put into removal proceedings if they encountered by ICE after their work permits expire. These policies are also subject to change.
We recognize that this is a time of uncertainty for DACA recipients and their friends, families, employers, and community members. Even though DACA in its current form will be ending, Congress has the ability to pass similar or expanded protections for Dreamers, and it will be important in the coming days to urge Congressional representatives to create a replacement program for DACA that will protect Dreamers from removal, give them work authorization, and ideally provide a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship.