Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (also known as DACA), ordered by the Obama administration in 2012, is a program that has offered temporary protection from deportation to nearly 800,000 people who were brought to the country illegally as children, allowing them to obtain work permits, be eligible for driver’s licenses, and complete schooling.
To have been eligible for DACA, applicants must have entered the U.S illegally before their 16th birthday, been younger than 31 before 2012, haven’t been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanors, and must have been in school, graduated from school or are honorably discharged veterans of the armed forces or Coast Guard.
New York State has almost 42,000 DACA recipients. Of those 42,000 recipients, 30,000 live in New York City.
On September 5, 2017, DACA was rescinded by the Trump Administration. The effective end date will be March 5, 2018. However, work permits will continue to be valid until they expire, event past March 5, 2018.
Unfortunately, no new DACA applications can be filed as of September 5. If an initial application was already filed and was pending on September 5, 2017, it will be decided as usual.
DACA applicants cannot apply for Advance Parole. If a DACA Advance Parole application was pending on September 5, 2017, the filing fee will be refunded and the application will be “administratively closed” (this means that the application will not be approved).
NY Lawsuit Against the DACA Rescission:
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman led a coalition of 16 Attorneys General in filing suit to protect DACA grantees. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, details how the Trump administration has violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against DREAMers of Mexican origin, who make up 78 percent of DACA recipients; violated Due Process rights; and harmed States’ residents, institutions, and economies.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with five other senators, have introduced the BRIDGE Act (also known as “Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy”), bipartisan legislation whose intent is to allow people who are eligible for or who have received work authorization and temporary relief from deportation through DACA to continue living in the U.S. with permission from the federal government.
Differences Between DACA and The BRIDGE Act:
DACA is a type of “deferred action” created through an executive action of the Obama administration. The Trump administration had the authority to end it without having to consult with or get approval from Congress.
The BRIDGE Act is a proposed law, introduced by members of Congress that would authorize the secretary of Homeland Security to grant provisional protected presence and work authorization to certain non–U.S. citizens for a maximum of three years. If the BRIDGE Act is enacted into law, its provisions would remain in effect until Congress either changed them or repealed the law. This would provide more protection to applicants for provisional protected presence than recipients of DACA currently have.
This is not legal advice. Consult a qualified immigration attorney if you have any questions.
Elektra B. Yao is a multilingual Immigration Attorney and the owner of The Law Office of Elektra B. Yao. You can contact her at (917)587-9189 and at Elektra@yaofirm.com. Please visit her website at www.yaofirm.com