US: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be winding-down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
In a statement on September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be winding-down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Enacted by former President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA granted two distinct benefits to foreign nationals who entered the US before the age of sixteen without valid status or who overstayed their valid status. Foreign nationals who were enrolled in high school or a GED program, have obtained a high school degree, or completed a GED program were eligible to request protection from deportation and employment authorization
Pending applications for initial DACA requests that were received by Tuesday, September 5, 2017, will continue to be processed. Any applications received after this date will not be processed.
Individuals who have already been granted DACA benefits that will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 should submit DACA renewals before October 5, 2017 in order to extend their benefits for an additional two years. Applicants who have already filed renewals should expect the benefits to be processed per the standard timeframes.
All existing DACA approvals and associated Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will be honored until their date of expiration.
We recommend that eligible DACA recipients timely file extensions and all limit their international travel, regardless of whether they have an approved Advance Parole document. If international travel cannot be avoided, a consult with an attorney is highly recommended to discuss the risks.
In the meantime, President Trump has advised DHS that DACA recipients continue to remain a low enforcement priority, unless they are criminals, involved in criminal activity, or members of a gang. The President has asked Congress to legislate the question of DACA benefits within the next six months, and has subsequently announced that he will “revisit” DACA if Congress has not acted.
For further details regarding the recent change in policy regarding DHS and DACA, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team.