DACA Remains in Place, for Now

June 19, 2017

On the five-year anniversary of DACA, a program designed to safeguard people from deportation if they were brought to the United States as children, the Department of Homeland Security appears to have announced that DACA is here to stay, at least for now. This provides some hope for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, often called Dreamers, who currently have DACA and have grown up in the United States, making countless positive contributions to our schools, workplaces, and communities. However, the administration continues to send mixed messages about the long-term fate of the program, leaving the lives of countless families in limbo.

Unfortunately, the announcement also states that the government would be rescinding a 2014 policy called DAPA that was meant to protect the parents of these children but was never implemented due to a series of lawsuits to prevent DAPA from taking effect. It is heartbreaking that these parents will have to continue living in the shadows, at risk of being separated from their children and unable to fully participate in the country they call home.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy that was established in a memorandum by President Obama on June 15, 2012. DACA is not an official immigration status, but it grants certain undocumented immigrants deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

Still, the future of DACA remains uncertain since it is possible that the administration will change its mind. Families should also be cautious given a handful of recent cases where immigration officials have detained or deported DACA recipients, although these seem to be isolated incidents at this time.

In addition, the rescission of the 2014 policy also appears to mean that after Dreamers’ current work permits expire, they will have to renew their work permits every two years instead of every three years. A list of frequently asked questions released by the Department of Homeland Security states, “No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

If you wish to renew DACA or are considering applying, please speak with an attorney or BIA-accredited representative in order to determine what is best for your particular circumstances. For more information, visit NYLAG’s guide to DACA.