The Trump administration announced on Tuesday, September 5, that it is ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA"). Congress now has a six-month window to save the Obama-era program. If a compromise is reached, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children may be able to remain in the country.
President Barack Obama created DACA through an executive order in 2012. The program covered individuals without serious criminal histories who were younger than 16 when they came to the United States before 2007 and allowed these individuals to seek renewable, two-year lawful status periods. Applicants who were 15 years old were eligible for benefits, and the program could have covered up to 1.3 million young people if it were allowed to continue. Critically, DACA provided certain forms of employment eligibility/work authorization that U.S. employers relied upon. This decision, which was outlined in a memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security earlier today, will likely impact as many as 800,000 DACA beneficiaries.
According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration will stop considering new applications for legal status, but will allow DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018, to apply for a two-year renewal. Individuals who are eligible for extensions should file by October 5, 2017.