Termination of DACA

On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III announced the President's plan to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") program. Originally introduced in 2012, DACA provided relief from deportation and the ability to apply for work authorization for as many as 800,000 individuals who arrived in the U.S. before 2007, were children (under age 16) at the time they arrived, were 30 years or younger when the policy was enacted in 2012, and did not have criminal records. The President's order terminating DACA stated that, effective immediately, USCIS would no longer accept initial requests for DACA and would no longer approve advance parole (travel authorization) requests associated with DACA. The President directed USCIS to only accept DACA renewal requests and EAD requests until October 5, 2017, and only for individuals whose DACA benefits expire on or before March 5, 2018.

Accordingly, DACA beneficiaries with upcoming expirations have been scrambling to file their extension requests, a process that has been particularly onerous for DACA recipients in Florida and Texas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Although the Dream Act legislation has been introduced to protect these DACA recipients on a more permanent basis, to date Congress has not brought these bills up for debate or vote. We will continue to bring updates on DACA and any Dream Act legislation in our newsletters.

The latest news on DACA and Dreamers

On July 21, 2017, a bipartisan Senate bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois (S. 1615) introduced the Dream Act of 2017.  The measure would allow recipients of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, commonly known as the "Dreamers" to obtain green cards and a path to citizenship, if certain criteria are met.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, along with 19 other Democratic attorneys general, have joined together to urge President Donald Trump to keep the under-threat DACA program. In a letter to the president, the attorneys general said the 800,000 recipients of the DACA program have been an economic boom to universities and employers.

On the other side of the DACA debate, Texas and nine other states have sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting that DACA be phased out and that DHS rescind the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum and not renew or issue any new DACA or expanded DACA permits in the future.  If not, the letter indicates that the states will amend their litigation pending in the Southern District of Texas to challenge the DACA program.  The current administration has yet to provide any specific details about its plans for keeping or terminating DACA.

The future of DREAMers- Congressional Action and 14 Mayors urge President-Elect Trump to protect DACA

Unauthorized immigrants covered by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) face an uncertain future under the new Trump administration.  According to USCIS, more than 750,000 young unauthorized immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief through DACA since it was created by President Obama's executive action in August 2012. On December 7, 2016, fourteen mayors joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in sending President-elect Trump a letter urging him to continue the DACA program, which protects DREAMers and grows the economy, at least until Congress modernizes America's immigration system. In addition, on January 12, 2017 a bipartisan group of senators led by Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reintroduced the "Bar Removal of Immigrants who Dream and Grow the Economy" or BRIDGE Act, to provide DACA-eligible individuals the chance to apply for "provisional protected presence" and employment authorization. A companion bill was introduced in the House the following day.

We will continue to bring you updates on our website and newsletter on any changes with DACA. In addition, Iandoli Desai & Cronin P.C. has been hosting "Know Your Rights Seminars" across the Boston metro-area. If you wish to host a similar seminar at your institution, please contact us at info@iandoli.com with "Know Your Rights" in the subject line.