DACA to be Phased Out Beginning on March 5, 2018

The Trump administration formally announced the end of DACA -- a program that had protected from deportation nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.

The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications for the program as of Tuesday and has formally rescinded the Obama administration policy. "The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday at a Justice Department news conference. But the agency also announced a plan to continue renewing permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months, giving Congress time to act before any currently protected individuals lose their ability to work, study and live without fear in the US.

On September 4, 2017, the Attorney General issued a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instructing rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program gave temporary deportation reprieves, and work authorization, to approximately 800,000 young people brought to the US as children who have grown up in the United States and have no other clear path to legal status under current law.

The Phase Out:

Current DACA recipients may continue to use their employment authorization documents (EADs) through their current expiration date, unless the EAD is otherwise terminated or revoked. DACA EADs are typically issued with a two-year validity period. DACA renewal applications pending as of September 5, 2017 will continue to be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. DACA recipients whose benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 may file for a renewal no later than October 5, 2017. Any DACA or associated EAD application filed after October 5, 2017 will be rejected by USCIS. This means that anyone who has a DACA-based EAD expiring between now and March 5, 2018 must file an extension by October 5, 2017.

All properly-filed initial DACA applications filed as of September 5, 2017 will continue to be adjudicated. No applications for first-time DACA applications will be accepted going forward. Individuals whose DACA EADs expire on or after March 6, 2018 are not eligible for a renewal.

What DACA Recipients Need To Know:

Once an individual’s DACA period ends, that individual may be subject to removal. Most DACA recipients will have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge prior to deportation. We encourage DACA recipients to speak to an immigration lawyer to see whether there are options for relief and to create a plan for after their EADs expires.

Guzhva Law Firm offers free 15-minute consultations to currently-enrolled full-time students, certain college and university employees.

What Employers and Universities Need to Know:

The expiration of DACA may affect some employees, but their employment authorization continues through the validity of their current EAD. Normally, employers can consult the Form I-9 completed by employees with temporary work authorization to determine which employees may be covered by DACA, as well as by grants of work authorization through other programs such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that are being phased out by the current Administration. Employers should consult an immigration attorney before taking any employment action against an EAD holder and should also discuss what options may be available to support employees affected by the rescission of DACA.

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