Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program started in 2012 by the Obama administration. It applies to certain individuals who immigrated to the U.S. as children, and extends lawful status (not necessarily lawful presence) to those who meet the requirements. However, as of this writing, the program faces cancellation, as a new administration will take office in January 2017, and they have made mention of curtailing the amnesties or temporary assistance granted to undocumented immigrants.
DACA sets out a series of requirements that must be met in order for a person to be eligible for deferred action. The primary requirement is that the person requesting must have been between the ages of 15 and 31 on June 15, 2012 (the date that DACA was implemented), but there are some others. They include:
If someone meets all these requirements, then he or she will receive an Employment Authorization in the mail along with notification that he or she has been granted deferred action. Deferred action is lawful status, and holders are permitted to work upon receipt of an Employment Authorization from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Mr. Trump, both on the campaign trail and again as the President-elect, has vowed to terminate President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and he can do so with relative ease, given the lack of actual infrastructure (DACA was established by policy memo, which does not technically have the force of law). The rationale is that DACA and the similar initiatives proposed represent an unconstitutional overreach of executive authority, and the president-elect’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has historically been one of the strongest proponents of that line of thought. Latino organizations, such as the Central American Resource Center (CARC) in Los Angeles, have urged the new administration to think before tearing families apart. However, the question remains uncertain as of this writing.
Many attorneys have urged those already on DACA to reapply very quickly, so their case can be adjudicated before the new administration takes office on January 20, 2017. However, at this point, the prevailing sentiment is that new applications for DACA should not be undertaken—since the situation is so uncertain, most advocates are urging immigrants not to waste their time or money.
It is plausible that the incoming administration may retain the program, but signs appear to indicate that it will be scrapped. As such, undocumented immigrants must take steps to explore any other legal methods that might allow them to stay in the country.
Consult an Immigration Attorney
The future of DACA is up in the air, and as such, it is entirely understandable that immigrants—especially the undocumented—might be concerned and want to investigate alternative ways to protect themselves. If you need help exploring your options, the passionate Chicago deportation defense attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC may be able to assist. Call us today to set up a free consultation.
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