Information about DACA
If you or someone you know has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) you may have some questions about what is happening with the program. See below for useful information and resources. Please contact Conexión Américas through any of the following ways if you would like to speak to someone about DACA, schedule an immigration screening to see if you are eligible for other options, or get connected with help in different regions of the state:
Text DACA to 313131
What is DACA?
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is an executive order announced by President Obama in 2012. DACA allows certain young people, often referred to as Dreamers, who came to the United States as children to qualify for protection from deportation proceedings and remain in the country. Young people who are approved for DACA receive a social security number to be able to obtain employment and in some states — including Tennessee — can get a driver’s license. DACA provides protection for two years, and individuals can reapply when close to their expiration date.
Over its five year history, DACA has allowed almost 800,000 young people to pursue higher education, earn better wager, own homes, start businesses, and more. In Tennessee, over 8,300 young people have received DACA.
What is happening with DACA?
On June 29, 2017 Texas led nine attorneys general — including Tennessee’s Herbert Slattery III — in sending a letter to President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions giving Trump a deadline to terminate the DACA program by September 5th, or they would file a lawsuit. It is widely expected that President Trump will terminate the program before September 5th. DACA, as an executive order, can be terminated at any time without the need for congressional approval. DACA was passed as a temporary solution, but provides no long-term path to citizenship. Ending DACA will not fix our broken immigration system, only an act of Congress can do that. In recognition of the threat to DACA, and the short-term nature of the program, legislation has been introduced in Congress to provide a more permanent protection and a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants.
On Friday, September 1, 2017, Tennessee’s Attorney General removed his name from the pending lawsuit, instead urging Congress to act on the issue by voting on the bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017.
Similarly, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan along with about ten GOP members Congress, have called on President Trump not to end DACA and allow Congress to pursue a permanent solution.
On Tuesday September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that President Trump will end the DACA program.
What does the end of DACA mean?
President Trump announced that the DACA program will end, but that there will be a “wind-down period” of six-months. Things to know about the end of DACA:
- DACA and work permits are still valid, and will remain so until their expiration date.
- United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will process initial and renewal applications that have been filed before September 5, 2017.
- USCIS will not accept new first-time DACA applications filed after September 5, 2017.
- USCIS will continue processing first-time and renewal applications that were accepted by September 5, 2017.
- DACA recipients whose DACA and work permits expire between now and March 5, 2018, can apply for renewal as long as they submit their application by October 5, 2017.
- Any renewal applications for DACA expiration dates after March 5, 2018 will not be accepted.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer allow DACA recipients to travel out of the country through the Advance Parole program. All pending Advance Parole applications will be rejected and all fees will be returned.
What else do I need to know if I have DACA?
If you have DACA, this may an overwhelming moment. Conexión Américas and our partners will provide as much information in the coming weeks as possible to provide support and information. For now, it is important to know that:
- Work permits are valid until they expire or the government demands they be returned. As the DACA programs ends and you are allowed to keep your work permit, you have the right to work legally until your work permit expires. Your employer does not have the right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until your work permit expires.
- Your Social Security Number is a valid number for life, even once your DACA and work permit expires. You can still use your SSN for education, banking, and other purposes.
- In Tennessee, you can get a driver’s license if you have DACA. If you have not yet done so, apply for your driver’s license while your DACA remains valid.
You may be eligible for another immigration option. Contact Conexión Américas (615.320.5152) to schedule an appointment for an immigration screening or a referral to a trusted immigration lawyer.
I have DACA that expired before March 5, 2018, how can I reapply?
If your DACA expires before March 5, 2018. You have until October 5, 2017 to submit your application to reapply. We advise you see an immigration attorney or BIA accredited representative to help with your renewal process.
What I cannot afford to pay the renewal fees?
If you have DACA and your permit expires before March 5, 2018 and you need help paying the $495 application fee, Mission Asset Fund is offering FREE SCHOLARSHIPS to help Dreamers pay the fee.