There have been some recent headlines about DACA that I’d like to address. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a program started by President Obama in June 2012 that granted 2 year work permits to people brought to the United States before turning 16 years old and who arrived here before June 15, 2007. All guidelines determining who qualifies for DACA can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca
The DACA program has been hugely popular with applicants and the general public alike, which is why President Trump has not ended the program. He knows that his already unpopular presidency will become even more unpopular if he ends the program. There has been talk of the DACA program ending ever since Trump was elected in November 2016. The program has survived so far, and it had mostly stayed out of the news for the past few months, which was a good sign.
However, 9 states, including Texas, have threatened to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over DACA, claiming that they are being harmed as a result of the DACA program. They have announced that they will file their lawsuit in September unless Trump ends the program. The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, has not said whether the Trump administration will defend the DACA program, but he has stated that he does not believe that the DACA program will win if it does go to court. He has indicated that Congress passing immigration reform legislation is the best way to address DACA and other classes of immigrants. So he has not been very reassuring to the public that the Trump administration is prepared to fight to keep DACA alive.
President Trump has not yet announced what he will do, but now is the time to put pressure on him to continue the program. With Trump’s continued problems related to Russia and the health care fight, there doesn’t seem to be much room for immigration reform on their calendar. However, immigration reform is very popular with the general public, and Trump might see limited immigration reform as something that would raise his poll numbers while actually accomplishing something in a presidency that has produced nothing so far.
I’ll be honest, I think Trump is not ready to tackle something as big as comprehensive immigration reform, but I do think that he likes the DACA program and that he would be in favor of something to benefit DREAMers. I think Trump’s party and advisers are recommending to him to end the program, but that he personally doesn’t want to end the program. But if there’s a lawsuit against him to end the program, I don’t know how much he will actually fight to keep it. There are a lot of voices in the Republican party that want to end the program. So we must make our voices heard. Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to support legislation to protect DREAMers.
If Trump does decide to end the DACA program, all indications point to the fact that it will be phased out slowly rather than ended immediately. All of his previous statements on the issue have mentioned that if the program does end, all current work permits will be valid until their dates of expiration. So, if anyone out there is considering whether to apply for DACA for the first time or to renew their DACA status, I recommend that they file for DACA as soon as they can. For renewal applications, you can file 5 months before the expiration of your current work permit, and first time DACA applicants can apply anytime.
The cost of a first time DACA application is $1,030 ($535 for me and $495 for USCIS) and the cost of a renewal DACA application is $930 ($435 for me and $495 for USCIS).
Please call me at 512-912-7771 if you have any questions about DACA or any other immigration issue.