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
Call 615.320.5152

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.