Empowering undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals
WHAT WE KNOW NOW
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
The original DACA program remains in effect and USCIS continues to accept and process DACA applications. Recent immigration executive orders by President Trump do not change the status of the program, but do change the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation priorities which can put some DACA applicants at risk.
While DACA continues to be available, the overall future of DACA remains uncertain based on President Trump’s previous statements during his campaign that he would end the program.
Please see below for updated recommendations on how to approach applying for DACA and Advance Parole.
Current DACA Recipients
Someone who has a valid DACA will continue to have access to work authorization and other benefits such as driver’s licenses. However, President Trump’s immigration executive orders have changed the government’s deportation priorities, which may lead ICE to detain and attempt to deport people even if their DACA has not expired. The following are reasons why ICE may detain a person with a valid DACA:
They are arrested or convicted for any criminal offense;
They admit to any offense (including minor traffic violations);
They are determined to pose a threat to public safety or national security;
They have been deported or been ordered deported from the United States;
They admit to fraud in connection with a government agency (such as the use of a fake social security number);
They admit to gang affiliation;
They in any way come to the attention of local law enforcement
Initial DACA Applications - Recommended only with attorney representation
There are some circumstances where the benefits to applying for DACA for the first time may outweigh the risks. We recommend that all potential DACA applicants consult with an attorney or BIA accredited representative before applying. It is not recommended that one apply for DACA if they have any prior criminal or immigration issues such as those mentioned above.
Initial applications may take several weeks to several months to be processed. If the DACA program is changed or ends, before your application is approved, you may lose your application fee of $495. Additionally, new applicants may be unnecessarily be exposing themselves to the Department of Homeland Security.
DACA Renewals - Recommended for Certain Applicants
DACA renewal applications are still being accepted and approved with as quick as a 4-week turnaround. Those who renew will gain work authorization for another two years. Due to the uncertainty of the program, renewal applicants risk losing their $495 application fee if the DACA program is changed or ended before the renewal application is approved.
It is extremely important that DACA renewal applicants consult with an attorney or BIA accredited representative before submitting a renewal application if they have any prior immigration or criminal issues. Prior immigration and criminal issues could impact renewal applications even if people were approved in the past.
Advance Parole (Travel Abroad) - Not Recommended
With the uncertainty surrounding the DACA program it is not recommended that people apply to travel outside of the country with Advance Parole.
There are some limited circumstances where the benefits to traveling with Advance Parole may outweigh the risks. DACA recipients who last entered the U.S. without inspection (without permission) could benefit later in life if they successfully depart the U.S. and return with Advance Parole, particularly through a petition filed by a U.S. Citizen parent, spouse or adult child.
It is extremely important that people consult with an attorney or BIA accredited representative before traveling outside of the U.S.
People should not travel with parole of any type if they have:
Previous criminal arrests or charges (even without a conviction)
Any type of criminal conviction
Any history of fraud related to any official matter (such as use of a false social security number)
Been deported or ordered removed from the U.S.
Immigration policy may change. Therefore, we encourage you to check reliable resources and ask trusted people and agencies, like an immigration attorney or your local community non-profit immigration organization, if you have questions.
DACA Renewals and California Driver's Licenses
This advisory explains how USCIS delays in processing DACA renewal requests can impact California driver’s licenses and what steps individuals can take to obtain a valid driver’s license while they wait for their DACA renewal and once they have received their renewal. Click here to read more.