What are the latest legal and political developments affecting the “Dreamers” – the nearly 785,000 young immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents and have never known another nation as their home?
Here are three recent developments are important to the Dreamers right now:
1. Recent federal court orders will keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for Dreamers alive and in place, for the moment.
2. Immigration activists are now targeting March 23rd as the next key date for Congress to take action.
3. DACA application processing delays could cause a loss of legal protection and the loss of work permits for thousands of “Dreamers.”
CAN DREAMERS STILL APPLY FOR RENEWAL OF DACA PROTECTION?
What’s important is that the 785,000 Dreamers who have previously been approved for DACA can continue to file applications for DACA renewals – while Congress is determining their fates.
According to Las Vegas immigration attorney Margo Chernysheva, “The Supreme Court has decided not to allow the Trump Administration to stop the renewals of the DACA applications.”
If you an immigrant in the United States, and you qualified for DACA protection, how does this Supreme Court ruling impact you? Keep reading – you’re about to find out.
ONE ATTORNEY’S INSIGHTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Attorney Chernysheva explains that those immigrants who are approved for DACA “are currently protected and will be able to renew their work authorizations until the courts decide to change their position.”
She advises that anyone concerned for the fate of the Dreamers should “contact your congressperson and Senators to push for an actual immigration reform that would include DACA eligible individuals to receive a path to citizenship.”
March 5th was slated to be the final day of the DACA program, but a couple of unexpected court decisions have given the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program a new, extended life.
IF YOU HIRE DREAMERS, WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW?
According to National Immigration Forum Executive Director Ali Noorani, “The president … created a mess” by announcing the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Noorani told Bloomberg Law that “as a result, employers are faced with some really tough decisions in the time ahead.”
However, the most recent court rulings have eliminated the need for U.S.-based employers to let go of their DACA employees – at least for the moment.
HOW DID THE DACA PROGRAM ARRIVE WHERE IT IS NOW?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was initiated by the Obama Administration back in 2012.
The Trump Administration announced the scheduled end of the program in September 2017, and officials set March 5th, 2018, as the official last day for DACA.
Almost 20,000 of the Dreamers lost their DACA benefits after the White House made this announcement because they failed to apply for DACA renewal in the single month that was granted to them by the Trump Administration.
Recipients with work permits that were scheduled to expire before March 5, 2018, were permitted by the Trump Administration to file for DACA renewal, but only if they applied for their renewals before October 5, 2017. About 20,000 did not.
It was also after the September announcement from the White House that the federal courts began to take their own actions. Those actions are summarized below.
WHAT ARE THE RECENT FEDERAL COURT RULINGS REGARDING DACA?
In January, a federal court judge in California ordered U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to start accepting DACA renewal applications once again.
Another federal judge in New York subsequently issued a comparable order.
As a result, according to USCIS, more than 11,360 DACA participants applied for renewal in January 2018.
Both cases remain pending after the U.S. Supreme Court refused on February 26th to hear the Trump Administration’s appeal of the California judge’s order.
However, no one should read too much into the recent court activity. There is still no way to guess what will eventually happen to DACA and the Dreamers.
WHAT DOES DACA’S FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
Greg Chen, speaking for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told Bloomberg Law, “The court process is extremely unpredictable.”
The courts’ orders leave the DACA program operating for now, but those court orders could be overturned by other courts.
Furthermore, the court orders only cover those Dreamers who have already been approved for DACA protection. The courts are not requiring USCIS to accept any first-time DACA applications.
In February, the U.S. Senate considered several proposals that would provide the Dreamers with some type of legal status, but lawmakers were not able to agree on a plan.
Still, according to Greg Chen, “The remarkable achievement in the past six months … is the bipartisan momentum that has developed and gained steam to get a permanent solution for dreamers passed.”
Chen also explains that the next “target date” for legislation is March 23, when the current continuing resolution for financing the government runs out.
R.J. Hauman, speaking for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Bloomberg Law that it would be “extremely misguided” for Congress to reach a DACA deal in a “smoke-filled back room” and risk yet another government shutdown.
IF YOU ARE AN IMMIGRANT IN THE U.S., WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW?
USCIS is not now accepting new applications for DACA protection, but if you have had DACA protection in the past and you need to renew it, you may need an immigration lawyer’s help.
If you are an immigrant who does not qualify for DACA and you have any questions regarding your visa or legal status – or any other immigration concerns – seek an immigration attorney’s advice at once.
In its current form, the DACA program does not offer the Dreamers permanent lawful status or a path to U.S. citizenship, and it doesn’t qualify anyone for student aid or for any type of federal assistance.
WHERE CAN YOU TURN FOR HELP?
If you are a Dreamer, or if you hire Dreamers, and you need legal help or advice regarding DACA or any other immigration issue, let an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney help.
Immigration law has always been complicated and confusing. The system has needed comprehensive reform for years, and it still needs serious reform.
With the courts and Congress now actively looking at the DACA program and at the entire immigration issue, we can expect more changes and more confusion in the weeks and months to come.
Make certain that you have the sound legal advice you need from an immigration lawyer whose knowledge and experience you can trust.