The End of DACA: What’s Next for America’s DREAMers?

Few things are more worrying than the prospect of being forced to leave the place that you have always called home. If you’re one of the people affected, you’re probably anxious to know how this affects you. The Trump administration’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program means that over 800,000 young people throughout the United States may be facing this possibility in a matter of years and even months.

DACA was originally established in 2012 by the Obama administration to allow young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children to remain in the country. Its supporters pointed out that these young people, who are known as ‘“DREAMers” after the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, should not be punished because their parents never obtained legal status.

Since its inception, DACA has granted short-term legal status to DREAMers, enabling them to stay in the country, work and attend school, and obtain driver’s licenses. Many of them have always identified themselves as 100% American, and never knew they were in the United States illegally until they applied for student loans, driver’s licenses, and other benefits that required a Social Security number.

The decision to end DACA means that no new applications for the program are being accepted, although anything filed before September 5, 2017 is still being processed and those currently holding permits can use them until they expire. Those with permits due to expire before March 5, 2018 when the program starts shutting down, must renew them by October 5, 2017.

DACA recipients with expired permits face the following complications:

  • They will no longer be allowed to work legally in the U.S.
  • If they travel abroad, they will be denied re-entry into the country
  • In certain states, their driver’s licenses will be invalidated
  • They may be subject to deportation

As expected, there has been strong opposition to the news. Celebrities like Demi Lovato are condemning the decision and pledging their support for affected young immigrants while the District of Columbia and 15 states have sued to block the Trump administration from ending the program.

President Trump has requested that Congress come up with an alternative solution for the thousands of DREAMers across the country before March 5, 2018, but those affected should contact an immigration attorney for a review of their situation and appropriate advice.

At Ahluwalia Law P.C. we have been assisting California residents with their immigration questions and concerns for years, and welcome inquiries from DACA recipients seeking permanent residency in the U.S. To receive advice applicable to your situation from an experienced and compassionate California immigration attorney, contact our office today.