While many have worried that DREAMers would face deportation under President Trump, the most recent Trump deferred action news is encouraging in some ways. On June 15, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a new statement about DACA and the similar (but never implemented) DAPA programs. According to this statement, the government will continue to process DACA applications and current DACA recipients can renew their work permits.
What Is DACA?
President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) by executive order in 2012. Under DACA, certain immigrant children (who were brought to the United States before their sixteenth birthday) are eligible for work permits and can avoid deportation. DACA applicants must also meet specific eligibility criteria and pass a background check.
However, Mr. Trump campaigned heavily against DACA, calling it an “unconstitutional executive amnesty” in the past– and promised to terminate the program on his first day in office.(Since DACA was created by an executive order, the president can cancel the program at any time.) Justifiably, the roughly 800,000 DREAMers that signed up for DACA were concerned about losing their legal immigration status.
Since taking office, Mr. Trump has softened his stance on DACA. In January 2017, he told DREAMers to “rest easy.” And, according to federal data:
- More than 17,000 DACA applications received approval during the first three months of 2017, and
- 107,000 DREAMers had their two-year work permits renewed during the same period of time.
DHS’ June statement confirms that the Trump Administration will continue to follow DACA procedures.
What Is DAPA?
While Mr. Trump is maintaining the DACA program, his administration did officially rescind Mr. Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. DAPA was supposed to defer the deportation of undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents. However, the federal courts almost immediately blocked DAPA — and it was never implemented. Essentially, the termination of DAPA ends Mr. Obama’s legal appeal of the court’s decision.
How Will Trump Deferred Action Policies Impact DREAMers?
DACA’s continuation is good news for DREAMers. As of today, eligible DREAMers can continue to apply for and renew their DACA work permits.
However, remember that if you are convicted of a crime, this can disqualify you. The Trump administration has been arresting people with DACA who have been accused of crimes. If you or someone you know has DACA or is looking to apply for DACA needs to consult with a criminal and immigration attorney before the ICE picks them up.
Speak With a Lawyer About Trump Deferred Action Policies
It is uncertain whether, in the future, Mr. Trump (who is keenly sensitive to opinion polls and public perception) will change his stance on DACA and DREAMers. Again, the president can terminate DACA at any time. We will continue to monitor this issue closely.
While the most recent Trump deferred action news is encouraging, it’s important that DREAMers and other immigrants keep up-to-date on this administration’s policies. If you have concerns about your immigration status or DACA application, contact Andres Mejer Law today for a confidential initial consultation. We will help you understand you rights during these uncertain times.