Barring a last-minute volte-face, the President has made the decision to officially end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program initiated by his predecessor. He has stated that the official date for DACA to end will not be immediately, however; rather, in six months’ time the program will officially expire.
Regardless of specific dates, this decision has the potential to cause approximately 800,000 people to either be deported or temporarily removed from the only home many have ever known. If you are one of those people, there are factors you need to know.
Undocumented Status Creates Problems
Short of achieving asylum or refugee status, there is no lawful immigration status open to undocumented people, because the undocumented are held to have committed an act that renders them inadmissible when they entered the country without inspection (EWI). It is important to note that entry without inspection is a misdemeanor, but unlawful presence is a civil violation, not a crime—both of them can render a person inadmissible, meaning that they never ought to have been admitted into the country.
Inadmissibility is a status that can be waived in very rare circumstances; however, unless you are either the spouse, child or (in some cases) sibling of a U.S. citizen, it is not generally worth the time to try. As such, this puts DACA recipients in an extremely difficult position. The strong majority of recipients were brought to the U.S. as children, meaning that their parents are almost certainly undocumented as well, which does not permit the seeking of waivers of inadmissibility. If one cannot obtain a waiver, then he or she must return to another country and wait until the bar to re-entry (assessed upon a finding of inadmissibility) expires. The bar can be anywhere from 3 years to a decade.
How Does Removal Work?
Generally, the majority of DACA recipients would find themselves in removal proceedings if the program is fully rescinded. Such cases would not be fundamentally different from any other removal proceeding; you would be sent a Notice to Appear, requiring your presence first in front of an immigration judge, and then in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) if you are denied and then appeal. In rare cases you may appeal up to your relevant federal Court of Appeals (for example, Illinois lies in the Seventh Circuit).
However, DREAMers are in very different situations as compared to those who simply pass through or are up to no good. Multiple personal stories abound as to the advances and abilities that these people have been able to further even when having no status, no access to loans or education, and to uproot that level of initiative is not only cruel to DREAMers; it may have significant economic impact on the United States.
Immigrants, even the undocumented, pay taxes by and large; to eliminate a significant source of income has the very real potential to tank the U.S. economy. One can only hope that the president is serious in upholding his six-month lag time before ending the program for good; if DACA is not salvageable by the executive or legislative branch, it does not speak well of where this administration places its value on immigrants.
Enlist Knowledgeable Help
In order to give yourself the best chance of staying in the United States, having an attorney who knows and understands the issues can be critical. The passionate Chicago deportation defense attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are happy to try and help you work out a path that will be the best possible for you and your family—though it will not be easy. Call the office today to set up an initial appointment.
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