Earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Trump’s decision to cancel DACA. This news is a devastating development to many people who had believed Trump when he stated in July that he had no plans to revoke DACA in the near future. This decision has been long dreaded by DACA recipients, immigrants, and U.S. citizens alike and will have far-reaching implications.
DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was implemented in 2012 as an executive order by former President Obama in order to provide protection and status to the undocumented children of immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents at a young age. DACA provided a much needed remedy for immigrants who did not have any other option to gain legal status in the United States. DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, were able to defer deportation for two years while being able to live and work legally within the United States. Over 800,000 Dreamers are currently living and working in the United States under DACA’s protection, and now their future is uncertain.
Starting today, Trump will not permit anyone new to apply for and receive the protection of DACA. Current DACA recipients will be allowed to retain their status, but as far as renewing their status, only those whose status expires between now and March 5, 2018 will be allowed to apply for renewal as long as their application is received prior to October 5, 2017. Any applications received after this October deadline will likely be denied. Trump is allowing a six-month window for the Department of Homeland Security to wind down the DACA program.
The implications for this are far-reaching and will impact more than just Dreamers. DACA recipients will lose their legal status and their work authorization, meaning that American companies and organizations will lose over 800,000 employees, which will undoubtedly have significant effects on the U.S. economy. This will create a drain on government resources by forcing agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement to expend money and manpower finding and deporting these previously-legal immigrants. It will also inevitably lead to higher rates of unemployment, creating an increase in welfare, social security, and Medicaid recipients.
In light of this decision, many are asking themselves: what do we do now? This is a difficult time for DACA recipients and for immigrants who were hoping to apply for DACA. Thankfully, this six-month grace period allows Congress a window to pass legislation that will give these protections back. Now is the time to act. We, as U.S. citizens and immigrants, must reach out to our Congressmen and ask for their support in passing legislation similar to DACA. Many Congressmen on both sides of the political fence have publicly voiced their support for DACA, and we must show them that we support their efforts to help the Dreamers.
For those Dreamers or immigrants who are affected by the repeal of DACA, please reach out to an immigration attorney to see what other options you may have. These next six months will be a crucial time for DACA, so be sure to stay up-to-date with any policy changes. For all immigration inquiries, please contact an attorney at Stilwell & Slatton by calling 202-333-2100.