DACA: American Dreamers Facing Nightmare

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, is under attack by the Trump administration. DACA was originally signed as an executive order by former President Barack Obama. It “shielded young immigrants from deportation and allowed them to get two-year, renewable work permits and a driver’s license and to more easily afford college,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced at a Justice Department news conference on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, that The Department of Homeland Security will no longer be processing any new applications for DACA or any DACA renewals that expired before the day of the announcement, that are not received by the appropriate lockbox the same day the announcement was made (September 5, 2017). However, the administration will continue to renew permits for anyone whose status expires between the date of the memorandum (September 5, 2017) and March 5, 2018, as long as the renewal application is received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) by October 5, 2017.

The pressure in now on Congress to act within the six-month timeline before DACA officially expires. If Congress does not act, the DACA recipients will no longer be formally protected.

“Immigration reform is a major issue that should not be handled lightly or with disregard,” said Robert Krug, immigration attorney at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym. Krug noted that the Trump administration has simply added immigration reform to Congress’ agenda, along with a myriad of other big bills that it has been struggling with since the beginning of the administration. Adding this crucial issue to their plate is a passive move by the Trump administration, to attempt to remove fault from the President should Congress not act.

The Department of Homeland Security stated that “anyone with expired DACA would be subject to deportation,” according to CNN. Extensive information was provided by the Dreamers to DHS for their DACA applications, making them incredibly vulnerable should Congress choose not to act or be unable to act. This vulnerability is emphasized by the Department of Homeland Security’s statement that persons with expired DACA“could be arrested and deported if encountered by ICE officers.” An ICE official commented, “we are enforcing the law the way it was written…not asked to have some executive interpretation of the law.”

“This shows the administration’s cruelty, because the individuals who were granted DACA status or are eligible for DACA status were brought here as children and this country is their home,” said Ian Wagreich, immigration attorney at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym. “DACA grantees have a lower crime rate than the native-born population,” he added. “DACA allowed these individuals to obtain employment authorization so they can work legally in America, leading to the ability to come out of the shadows, pay their taxes, enjoy increased educational opportunities and join the military to protect the only country they have ever known.”

Wagreich’s advice to the 800,000 individuals affected: “anyone who is a DACA grantee should meet with competent immigration counsel to consider their options.” Contact our law firm today at 312-580-0100 to speak with an immigration attorney; in a time of such uncertainty, be sure your rights are protected.

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