There is hope for a new law in the next six months.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Obama Administration’s 2012 DACA Executive Order (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) whereby some illegal immigrants who had come to the United States before age 16 were no longer at risk of deportation and were eligible to obtain a renewable two-year work authorization. During his remarks, Attorney General Sessions announced that DACA provided a “legal status” to the beneficiaries. However, his statement was not entirely accurate because DACA beneficiaries could only receive a work authorization benefit without any path toward a legal status.
What does this ruling mean for an estimated 800,000 DACA beneficiaries?
1) No new applications will be accepted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as of Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
2) Those people who were previously granted a work authorization under the DACA executive order can continue to work until the work authorization expires.
3) Those people with new pending DACA applications will have their applications adjudicated by USCIS.
4) Those people who have pending renewal DACA applications filed before September 5, 2017 or those whose work authorizations expire on or before March 5, 2018 and file for renewal before October 5, 2017 will have their applications adjudicated by USCIS.
5) USCIS will not issue any travel documents to existing DACA beneficiaries or pending DACA applicants.
USCIS issued a Memorandum on Rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which has the details of the implementation of the termination of DACA by the current Administration. The Memorandum can be found at: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/memorandum-rescission-daca
Here is my advice to the Dreamers and their families. Please read the memorandum several times to understand where you stand with your own DACA case. Do not panic or make any immediate decisions that may impact your future. If you are a current DACA beneficiary, then you will continue to hold that status until March 5, 2018 and quite possibly beyond that date.
DACA is a very sensitive issue and has the support of leading organizations and employers across the nation. Chances are there will be plenty of debate from both sides of the aisle and Congressional leaders will soon be faced with the decision to legalize DACA. Do not give up and do not give in. You belong here.
About the Author:
Catherine Henin-Clark is the Chair of Dean Mead’s Immigration Law practice group. Drawing from more than 29 years of experience, Ms. Henin-Clark’s practice focuses on nonimmigrant (temporary) and immigrant (permanent/”green card”) visa petitions and applications on behalf of investors, intra-company transferees, extraordinary ability professionals, athletes, artists and scientists, and other skilled foreign professionals and their US employers. This includes E, H, L, O, P, R nonimmigrant visas and EB-1, EB-2, PERM, EB-3 employment based immigrant applications. She also represents investors of all continents with the EB-5 (direct and Regional Centers) immigrant investor visa process.
Ms. Henin-Clark also represents U.S. employers in connection with immigration-related regulatory compliance proceedings (employment eligibility verification, I-9 audits, E-verify).
Ms. Henin-Clark often undertakes humanitarian cases such as asylum cases, I-601 waivers, 212d(3) waivers, and represents individual facing removal proceedings before the Immigration Court. She also represents individuals in family related matters and naturalization (U.S. citizenship) applications.
Ms. Henin-Clark was born in Madagascar and raised in Paris, France. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Ms. Henin-Clark graduated Valedictorian from the prestigious Paris Pantheon-Assas University and was admitted to the Paris Bar Association. She then pursued her studies in the United States, obtaining her law degree from Stetson University College of Law and admitted to The Florida Bar within two years. She may be reached at CClark@deanmead.com.