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These are uncertain times for DACA DREAMers. With the phasing out of the DACA program, many young immigrants feel alone, afraid, and powerless. However, an immigration lawyer can help you understand your rights and regain control. Call Andres Mejer Law at 888-421-9942 for a free consultation, and learn more about recent DACA developments below.
DACA DREAMers Must Be Proactive
Although there is vibrant support for DACA DREAMers, do not expect a quick solution to your immigration problems. If your DACA permit will expire by March 5, 2018, you must file a DACA renewal immediately. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will stop accepting DACA renewals on October 5, 2017. Once your DACA status expires, you lose all of the program’s protections and will become fully undocumented.
You don’t need to panic, but you must be prepared. DACA DREAMers should meet with an experienced immigration lawyer like Andres Mejer immediately. A significant number of DACA recipients actually qualify for legal permanent residency and other immigration programs. A lawyer will assess your eligibility for other visas or a green card, file your DACA renewal, and help you build a plan for your post-DACA future.
America Supports Its DACA DREAMers
Most Americans (53 to 55%, according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll) support DACA and are sympathetic to the plight of young immigrants (many of whom consider themselves Americans). As a country, we understand that young immigrants are a valuable asset. According to a 2017 Center for American Progress study, of the almost 800,000 DACA recipients, approximately:
- 90% are working (most on a full-time basis),
- 45% are currently attending school,
- 71% of these DACA students are working on a Bachelor’s degree or higher,
- 28% already have a Bachelor’s degree or higher,
- 61% opened their first bank account after obtaining DACA status,
- 64.5% purchased their first car, and
- 16% bought their first home.
The average DACA recipient was six years old when he or she entered the United States.
Ending DACA will damage our communities. For this reason, a wide variety of business and professional organizations have condemned the termination of DACA. Recently, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Uber offered to help with their employees’ DACA-related legal expenses. Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks also support lawsuits challenging the legality of Mr. Trump’s decision. (Sources: Recode article, 9/12/2017 and CNN article, 9/6/2017.) And, the American Medical Association has also voiced concerns that ending DACA will worsen America’s existing doctor shortage.
Congress Is Considering New Immigration Legislation for DACA DREAMers
Congress is under a lot of pressure to pass a law protecting young immigrants. Currently, a series of immigration bills have been introduced, including:
- Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy (BRIDGE) Act: Sponsored by Republicans, this bill would reinstitute DACA for another three years. A path to citizenship or legal residency is not included.
- Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act: One of the best-known proposals, this bipartisan law includes DACA-like protections and a path to permanent legal residency and citizenship.
- Hope Act: Sponsored by Democrats, the Hope Act would expand the DACA program and offer the fastest path to citizenship.
- Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act: This Republican sponsored bill would create a work permit program to a limited range of immigrants and offer a “rigorous” path to citizenship or permanent residency.
None of these bills have passed the House of Representatives at this time. Additionally, Democratic leaders met with Mr. Trump on September 13, 2017. While some of the details of this meeting are disputed, both sides confirmed their desire to protect DACA DREAMers.
If you are a DACA DREAMer, consider reaching out to your elected officials. It’s important that our representatives and senators hear your stories and concerns. Remind them that you have friends, family, spouses, and colleagues that vote and that DACA is a top priority for you all. If you are unsure whether you or your family members qualify, contact Andres Mejer Law immediately for a free initial consultation at 888-421-9942. There is little time to wait as the administration pushes to end the program.
Legal Challenges to Trump’s Termination of DACA
States and universities have filed lawsuits challenging the phasing out of DACA. They include:
- A lawsuit file by 15 states and the District of Columbia,
- Another lawsuit filed by California, Maryland, Maine, and Minnesota, and
- One by the University of California.
These legal actions argue that ending DACA is discriminatory, violates due process rights, would cause serious economic harm, and violates federal procedural rules. Immigration rights groups are also trying to expand an existing lawsuit (filed on behalf of an immigrant, Martin Batalla Vidal) in New York to cover DACA’s recission. If you are interested in these lawsuits, contact Andres Mejer Law and we will provide appropriate updates.
An Immigration Lawyer Can Help DACA DREAMers
Knowing where to turn as DACA ends can be scary and frustrating. Immigration attorney Andres Mejer is helping guide DACA DREAMers through the complicated (and quickly changing) process. We will assess your eligibility for DACA renewal, other visa and residency programs, and help you craft an immigration emergency plan that protects your family. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation today at 888-421-9942. We offer both English and Spanish translations.