On September 5, 2017, President Trump’s administration announced that they would be cancelling the DACA program, which was introduced by President Obama in 2012. This announcement was made after much uncertainty about the president’s position on the program throughout his candidacy for president, as well as during his presidency. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was a presidential directive that allowed certain individuals that were brought to the U.S. as young children, to be protected from deportation and to remain in the U.S. and apply for a work permit.
President Trump’s announcement did several things: 1) USCIS will not be accepting new applications for DACA as of September 5, 2017; 2) Renewals will only be accepted until October 5, 2017, for DACA’s that expire on or before March 5, 2018; 3) USCIS will close all pending advance parole applications and return fees, but 4) DHS will honor the advance parole documents that were previously approved. Of course, as always, CBP has the discretionary authority at the port of entries in admitting anyone in to the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also indicated that the government’s enforcement priorities are the same, in that they are still targeting people with criminal records.
President Trump has stated that he has made this announcement to pressure Congress to take action for the Dreamers. The term Dreamers is used to describe the group of young individuals that were brought to the U.S. as children. Trump has also indicated that if after six months Congress has not taken action, he would revisit the DACA issue. He has not explained more than that so we do not know much about what his plan is. What we do know is that almost 800,000 individuals have received benefits under DACA, and those individuals are now on the clock to figure out what is going to happen to them next.
The Trump administration has indicated that it has been working on different immigration plans including enforcement priorities. President Trump has also indicated that any immigration bill would not include “chain migration,” or allowing a resident or citizen to petition for other family members. Although we do not know what the future holds for our immigration laws, but many agree that the hope is that changes will be made for the betterment of our country, and the individuals that live here.