On September 5, 2017, the Department of Justice announced the wind-down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. The federal program, created under President Barack Obama's administration, provided work authorization and protection from deportation to qualified undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who underwent an extensive background check and met certain threshold criteria. More than 800,000 young adults have been granted DACA since the start of the program.
The wind-down of the program will have wide-ranging impacts. Effective immediately, no new DACA applications will be accepted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will adjudicate renewal applications filed by October 5, 2017 from current DACA beneficiaries if their status expires prior to March 5, 2018. Renewal applicants are eligible for a two-year work permit. Those already approved for DACA and who possess a work permit that expires after March 5, 2018 are no longer eligible to file an application for renewal. Those beneficiaries whose work permit expires after March 5 will continue to have valid employment authorization and DACA protections from deportation until the expiration date of their work permit. USCIS will no longer accept nor approve applications for advance parole under the DACA program, and all pending advance parole applications will be closed and returned to all applicants with a refund of filing fees.
It is critical that DACA recipients pay close attention to their work authorization expiration dates to ensure a renewal application is filed prior to the October 5, 2017 deadline if they meet the eligibility criteria. Employees and employers should also ensure that DACA recipients do not work past the validity period on their work permit. Employers considering employment-based sponsorship for their DACA employees should speak to a qualified immigration attorney to review possible strategies. DACA recipients should speak to a trusted community-based organization or immigration attorney to determine if there are more secure immigration options to permit them to remain and work in the U.S. legally.
For more information regarding this announcement, please visit the USCIS website.