The Trump Administration announced on September 5, 2017, that it is terminating DACA. The program named Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has permitted people who were brought to the United States as children to remain here and receive employment authorization once they prove that they meet the minimum requirements for the program.
Requirements to be eligible for DACA include:
- Entered the United States to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time and did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without DHS authorization;
- Are currently in school, have graduated, or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Being approved for DACA did not grant any legal status upon the applicant or his/her family. It merely “Deferred” the Government’s right to initiate Deportation/Removal proceedings against anyone covered by the program.
Phase Out of DACA
Pursuant to the decision announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Government has officially ended DACA, but enforcement has been delayed for six months.
- As of September 05, 2017, the Government will not accept any new DACA applications;
- DREAMers with current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that expires between today and March 08, 2017 MUST file to renew their DACA status before the end September 2017 (official deadline is Thursday, October 05, 2017, but we advice that you not leave this to the last minute)
- DREAMers with currently valid EAD that expires after March 08, 2017 are not eligible to renew their status any longer
What This Means for DREAMers
- If you have an EAD that expired between today and March 08, 2017, please make sure to renew your DACA before the end of September 2017.
- Do not leave the United States under any circumstances as there is no guarantee that you will be able to return, even if you have received advance parole.
- Do not loose hope! There are several bills pending in Congress and it is possible that a law legalizing/codifying DACA regulations will come into effect before March 2018
What This Means for Employers
Basically, employers may not terminate a DACA employee from employment solely on the expectation of future ineligibility to work. DREAMers with currently valid Employment Authorization are legally able to continue with their employment.
- Current DACA recipients, as well as those eligible to apply by October 5, 2017, will be permitted to retain both the period of deferred action and, for DACA extensions, their EAD cards until they expire, unless terminated or revoked.
- DACA beneficiaries must possess both a valid EAD as well as a Government issued Social Security Card
- USCIS will process new DACA EAD applications received before September 5, 2017, but any employees who intend to file for DACA for the 1st time are no longer eligible to apply.
- DACA and EAD renewal applications that were properly filed prior to September 5, 2017 will continue to be processed. Current processing time for final adjudication is an average of 4 months.
- USCIS will process two-year DACA EAD renewal applications received by October 5, 2017 for individuals whose current DACA EAD expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018.
As always, employers and DREAMers are encouraged to call us or contact us should you have any questions about this phase out.