Updated: July 10, 2018
On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration made a shameful decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while giving Congress a six-month delay to come up with a legislative solution. On January 9th 2018, a federal court ruled that while a lawsuit decides whether the termination of DACA was unlawful, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must continue to accept renewal applications! While on April 24, 2018, a federal court issued an order requiring USCIS to re-accept initial DACA applications, but not immediately. Click here for resources.
This irresponsible decision put nearly 800,000 young people, including up to 40,000 San Diegans, at risk in a political tug-of-war. Since the inception of the DACA program, Alliance San Diego has stood in solidarity with Dreamers and during this time of turmoil, we will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters. We urge those affected to stay calm and lean on us to provide you with the latest information on your next steps. Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions people are asking us around the end of DACA.
What did this announcement mean?
President Trump is ending DACA program, and he has announced a wind-down. Under the wind-down process, USCIS was not going to accept any new initial DACA applications, however due to a recent federal court ruling on January 9th 2018, USCIS must continue to accept DACA renewals. All DACA recipients who are currently in status may continue to use their work permits until the expiration date on the employment authorization card, or renew before expiration while the lawsuit progresses.
This announcement also means that it is time for our community to advocate for a more permanent legislative fix for our DREAMer brothers and sisters by convincing Congress to pass a DREAM Act.
What should I do now?
- Stay calm and do not panic. Although news of the end of the program may sound final, it is not. In fact, due to a recent federal court ruling, USCIS must continue to accept DACA renewals while the lawsuit progresses.
- Do not make any drastic life changes based on the announcement. You belong here. Keep going to work or school. You are an important part of our community and lots of people will be fighting alongside you to keep you here.
- Consult with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney. You may have immigration relief, aside from DACA, for which you can apply. We are offering FREE consultations with experienced, local immigration attorneys. Come out to one of our free consultation events to find out what you might be eligible for. You can also bring your individual questions about DACA and how these new changes may impact you, and an attorney will provide you with one-on-one advice.
- Fourth, remember that no matter your immigration status, you have rights under the Constitution of the United States! If you are approached or detained by an immigration officer, you have the right to remain silent. The only information you are obligated to give a law enforcement officer is your true name. You do not have to sign any documents presented to you by an officer. NEVER sign any documents you don’t understand. NEVER lie about your immigration status. You do not need to consent to a search of your body, car, or home. So know your rights
- If you're in the middle of an immigration process at the moment, try to keep copies of receipts from USCIS on your person/in your car. Keep documentation that proves you've lived in the US.
What will happen to my current DACA permit?
You will be able to use your current DACA permit until it expires. You may be eligible to renew your DACA because of a recent federal court ruling which requires USCIS to continue accepting renewals while the lawsuit progresses.
- ONLY indiviuals who were previously granted DACA can renew.
- USCIS will continue to process all pending RENEWAL applications that were ACCEPTED by October 5, 2017 and continue to process incoming DACA renewals, until further notice.
- If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.
- If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or your DACA was previously terminated at any time, you cannot request DACA as a renewal (because renewal requests typically must be submitted within one year of the expiration date of your last period of DACA), BUT you may file a new initial DACA request ONLY IF you are filing a new initial DACA request because your DACA expired before Sept. 5, 2016, or because it was terminated at any time.
- For tips on how to file, click here.
You can find more information on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services DACA page.
What happens to my work permit?
DACA recipients with work permits, also known as Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will remain valid until they expire or the government terminates DACA.
- If you currently have an unexpired work permit under DACA, you are ALLOWED to keep your work permit and you have the right to work legally until your work permit expiration date.
- You have no obligation to inform your employer that DACA has ended. Your employer does NOT have the right to ask you whether you are a DACA recipient or how you got your work permit.
- Even though DACA is winding down, your employer does not have the right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until AFTER your work permit has expired. If your expiration date is nearing, your employer may ask you for an updated work permit but CANNOT take any action against you until AFTER it is expired.
- You still have the right to apply for a new job or change jobs until your work permit expires.
Will my Social Security Number be valid?
- Your SSN is VALID for life; even once your work permit and DACA permit expire. If you have not done so already, APPLY for an SSN while your DACA and work permit are still VALID!
- You CAN and SHOULD continue to use the SSN you got under DACA as your SSN even after your work permit expires. You can use your SSN for education, banking, housing and other purposes.
Note: Your SSN contains a condition on it that requires a valid work permit to use it for employment purposes.
What happened to Advance Parole with DACA?
The September 5th announcement also made important changes to DACA recipients’ ability to travel outside of the country through advance parole.
USCIS will do the following in regards to Advance Parole:
- REJECT all new applications for advance parole.
- Administratively CLOSE all pending applications for advance parole and refund the filing fee.
Previously approved grants of advance parole remain valid and DACA recipients have the ability to leave and return to the United States within the dates provided in the travel document.
USCIS states that DACA recipients currently outside of the country traveling with a valid grant of advance parole SHOULD be able to return to the country as long as they do so before their grant of advance parole expires.
- However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection retains the DISCRETION to deny re-entry into the country and it is NOT guaranteed that DACA recipients traveling with advance parole will be allowed to re-enter the country.
- SPEAK with an attorney to determine potential risks before applying or traveling with Advance Parole.
Will I be detained or deported?
Currently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) states that it is not actively looking to detain and deport people just because they have DACA. It is extremely unlikely that DHS will use the information submitted in your DACA forms to find and arrest you. There are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients nationwide, and DHS does not have the capacity to search for, detain, and deport everyone.
However, if you have an outstanding order of deportation (i.e., if you have been deported in the past or have been ordered deported by an Immigration Judge), or a criminal record, you are at a higher risk of being apprehended. Speak with an experienced and trusted immigration attorney as soon as possible about your legal options.
If you have never been deported or ordered deported by a judge and you do have an encounter with ICE or Border Patrol, remember that you have the right to fight your case before an Immigration Judge. NEVER sign for a “voluntary return,” no matter what DHS officers tell you. If you sign papers indicating that you agree to be sent to your country of origin, you will lose your ability to fight your case. If you or a family member are detained, contact a qualified immigration attorney. You can find legal assistance here.
Can I apply for other immigration benefits?
Maybe. Approximately 20% of DACA recipients are also eligible for other forms of immigration relief. You may be one of the 20%! You can apply for several forms of relief at the same time, if you are eligible for each program. We encourage you to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney as soon as possible to find out if you might qualify for another immigration program. Find out about our upcoming FREE legal screening programs at http://readynowsandiego.org/immigrationevents/.
Does the end of DACA mean my CA Driver's License expires?
No. In California, you can obtain a CA drivers license and state ID with DACA. If you have not already done so, apply for your CA driver's license and/ or state ID if your DACA is still valid. The State of California also offers the AB-60 Driver’s License, a driver's license for undocumented immigrants. Click here for more information on AB-60 and how to apply.
Who can I talk to for more information?
Please consult with a qualified immigration attorney if you have any questions or doubts. Although “notarios” (“immigration service” providers) may claim to have good advice for you, they are not licensed or qualified to give legal advice. This is a confusing time and you may hear a lot of conflicting information on the Internet or from community members. Come straight to the source and speak with an attorney about your concerns and questions! Find out about our upcoming FREE attorney consultations at http://readynowsandiego.org/immigrationevents/.