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DACA program to remain in effect -- for now

It may seem hard to believe but it's been roughly five years since the Obama Administration implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- otherwise known as DACA -- which is designed to provide undocumented young people who have lived in the U.S. since childhood with a reprieve from removal.  

To recap, successful applicants, referred to as Dreamers, are not granted lawful status, but rather deferred action, meaning they 1) can't be removed or placed into removal proceedings for two years, 2) are able to secure work permits, and 3) can renew their status for two years at a time.

While DACA has been lauded by immigration advocacy groups, its long-term fate has been somewhat uncertain since President Donald Trump took office in January. Indeed, his campaign pledges coupled with his administration's increased enforcement of immigration laws and pursuit of the travel ban had many believing that it would be terminated almost immediately.

In an interesting turn of events, however, it appears as if DACA -- and its 800,000-plus Dreamers -- is safe for the moment.

Last Thursday evening, the Trump administration issued new memorandums indicating that Dreamers will continue to be able to renew their status every two years and that work permits would not be terminated prior to their expiration date.

In fact, a news release from the Department of Homeland Security that evening read that "the June 15, 2012, memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect.”

By Friday morning, however, this news was walked back considerably, with officials indicating that it was only meant to clarify that DACA was in no immediate danger of cancellation owing to the administration's decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.

As we discussed in a previous post, DAPA, which would have essentially offered the same benefits to the parents of Dreamers, was never actually implemented owing to a 4-4 deadlock in the Supreme Court of the United States. Here, the decision by the Trump administration to formally end the program came as little surprise to most observers.

What all of this means for Dreamers is that they still have no real answer as to what the future holds. Indeed, experts have indicated that the president has heretofore expressed contradictory opinions toward DACA.

Stay tuned for updates …   

Please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions or concerns regarding any immigration law matter.

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