According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is still open and accepting applications. However, as the site continues, it may be ‘terminated at any time.’ The status of the DACA program has wavered multiple times in recent months, due to pressure from the White House and various interest groups.
In June 2017, a group of Republican attorneys general added their voice to the discussion, trying to force the administration to rescind permissions that allowed DACA to go forward. This leads to significant confusion and alarm for those with DACA status.
A Wavering White House
It is important to keep in mind that even if DACA were to be overturned or declared unconstitutional, current participants would likely be permitted to stay until their work permits ran out, or at least such was the thinking the first time the current administration entertained rescinding DACA. The President announced in mid-June 2017 that while his administration would be dropping any defense of the companion program DAPA (covering parents of U.S. citizen children and a few others in isolated cases), DACA would explicitly be left alone. This caused some to exhale in relief, but the mercurial nature of this president’s policy decisions left others more worried.
In recent weeks, nine attorneys general and one Republican governor have stated in a letter to the Attorney General that they will bring an immediate civil action if DACA is not immediately rescinded. If DACA were to be rescinded this way, it is plausible that people would be forced to depart even before their work authorizations expire, which causes not only pain to immigrants and immigrant families, but also a significant hit to local economies as businesses scramble for new workers.
If You Are a DREAMer
With the constant vacillation on these issues, it can be understandable to be frightened and confused. Most immigration organizations agree at this point in time that current DACA recipients should simply be careful and take reasonable precautions. More specifically, to continue doing what they normally do, though a couple of extra precautions like carrying a copy of your DACA acceptance are generally recommended. Your status is, as of this writing, still valid and cannot be unilaterally lifted. However, renewals are not recommended for some holders at this time, especially if you have a criminal record or have undertaken any travel lately; it is best to speak with an attorney if your need is great.
Keep in mind as well that you have rights, despite your lack of status aside from DACA. You do have the right to remain silent, as well as the right to refuse police or immigration officials entry to your home unless they have a warrant signed by a judge—not an Immigration & Customs Enforcement administrative warrant; it must be one signed by a magistrate or judge. It is also a good idea to have a plan in case the unthinkable happens. It should not be necessary, but sadly, it may be. Only time will tell.
Ask an Immigration Attorney
If you have questions or concerns about your status, especially if you have a criminal record or prior removals, it is important to speak to an experienced immigration lawyer. The compassionate Chicago deportation defense attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are ready to do our best to assist you in what can be a truly scary time. Contact the office today to set up a free consultation.
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