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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions unfortunately this morning announced the sunset of the program known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA allowed approximately 800,000 foreign nationals brought to the U.S. without authorization as children, or who overstayed after a lawful admission, to remain in the U.S. with permission to attend school and work. These children and young adults passed background checks and demonstrated that they were attending, or had graduated from, high-school, college or GED programs.

Details of today’s DACA announcement

Today the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo outlining how the sunset of DACA will occur. The memo has full details as well as a link to a list of frequently asked questions, but here are some important notes:

  1. No new applications: no new applications will be accepted after September 5, 2017.

  2. Applications accepted by USCIS on or before September 5, 2017: will be adjudicated as normal.

  3. Renewals: timely renewals of DACA expiring at any time up to March 5, 2018 will be adjudicated normally and result in a 2 year extension (if approved) IF THE RENEWAL APPLICATIONS ARE RECEIVED BY USCIS ON OR BEFORE October 5, 2017. -Any DACA expiring after March 5, 2018 will not be renewed.

  4. Late renewals: if your DACA expired and you failed to file for renewal prior to expiration, you are ineligible to file for DACA again.

  5. Advance Parole: any pending applications or new applications for a travel document (“advance parole”) based on DACA will be denied. USCIS will refund filing fees for such advance parole applications. -Previously granted advance parole will be honored. -No one should travel without first consulting their attorney.

Click here to view the Homeland Security memo detailing the sunset of DACA.

In justifying the termination of DACA, Attorney General Sessions disingenuously categorized DACA as “amnesty” and blamed the program for several real and imagined problems facing our country. Sessions first criticized President Obama for overstepping executive authority, and thus violating the Constitution’s separation of powers, by deliberately granting immigration benefits where Congress had specifically refused to do so. Sessions also stated that the enactment of DACA had caused a variety of ills including “lawlessness” and “human suffering.” Further, he falsely claimed that “hundreds of thousands of Americans” lost employment as a result of DACA. The tone of the announcement was vindictive, cruel, filled with misrepresentations and half-truths and, sadly, completely in line with this administration’s combative attitude toward foreign nationals.

What’s next for DACA?

The ball is now in Congress’ court to resolve this situation within six months. It is now more important than ever to contact your Senators and encourage them to pass Senate Bill 1615, The DREAM Act, a bill that would allow dreamers to continue living and contributing to our society. In Georgia, call Senator Isakson at 202-224-3643 AND Senator Perdue at 202-224-3521 and tell them: “Hi, my name is _____ and I am calling to urge you to co-sponsor the DREAM Act (S 1615). The DREAM Act allows immigrant youth to live, study and work free from fear of deportation, continuing to contribute to our community and our economy.”

Antonini & Cohen Stands By Our Young People

If you currently hold DACA benefits, or have questions regarding the status of a loved one or the termination of DACA, call the experienced attorneys at Antonini & Cohen at (404) 850-9394. We work hard every day to help these deserving young people, their loved ones, and their employers deal with this difficult situation.

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