Immigration and DACA/DAPA

(The following information is from the National Immigration Law Center)

IMPORTANT NOTICE — PLEASE READ (September 5, 2017)

On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it is terminating the DACA program. The National Immigration Law Center’s statement about the announcement is available here.

According to the announcement, the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new DACA applications (i.e., from people who don’t already have DACA). People who already have DACA and whose work permits expire between now and March 5, 2018, will be able to apply for a two-year renewal if they apply by October 5, 2017.

Generally, if you want to apply to renew your DACA by Oct. 5, we encourage you to speak first with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals–accredited representative. If you decide to proceed with an application, we urge that you be represented by an attorney or accredited representative (a Form G-28 should be filed with your application).


New Questions and Answers About DACA Now That Trump Is President

Last updated JULY 17, 2017

Many of us are concerned about what could happen to the DACA program—and to DACA recipients—under President Trump’s administration.[1] During his campaign, Trump said that he intends to end the DACA program. But since the election, he has not said exactly if, when, or how he might do this. Nor do we know what his administration’s officials might do with the information that DACA applicants have submitted on their applications.

But we do know this: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed on January 23 that USCIS is still accepting and processing DACA applications, despite the possibility that that the DACA program might be terminated.

Since DACA was created in 2012, anyone deciding whether or not to apply for it has had to weigh the benefits and risks of applying. When you provide information about yourself to immigration authorities—by submitting the DACA application—you are taking a risk. On the other hand, having DACA has brought many benefits to the people who have it, benefits that are highlighted in the recent report New Study of DACA Beneficiaries Shows Positive Economic and Educational Outcomes. Over 750,000 people have chosen to apply for and have received DACA. Many of them have, as a result, found better-paying jobs, received driver’s licenses, and enjoyed other benefits.

This FAQ provides information and recommendations that may help you decide what to do with respect to DACA now that Trump is the president. However, the information in this FAQ is not legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. To get legal advice about whether you should either apply for DACA for the first time or apply to renew your DACA, you should talk to a qualified immigration lawyer or a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)–accredited representative.

Currently I do not have DACA, but I think I am eligible. Should I apply for it?

If you do not currently have DACA and are considering whether to apply for it for the first time, we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals–accredited representative before you apply.

Because no one is certain about what will happen with DACA, and because immigrant communities have legitimate fears about what will happen to them under the Trump administration, at this time we recommend not submitting a first-time application for DACA unless you have consulted with and are being represented by an attorney or accredited representative. This recommendation may change in the future, as we learn more about the Trump administration’s plans for DACA.

Also consider this: If you apply for DACA today, it takes three months or more to process a DACA application. Three months from now the DACA program may have been terminated, and we don’t know what USCIS will do about pending applications. It’s possible not only that your application will not be approved, but that you may lose the $495 application fee.[2]

On the other hand, there are scenarios under which submitting your application now may have positive results. For example, if the DACA program is not terminated before your application is approved, the following possibilities would still exist:

  • The Trump administration may decide not to terminate the DACA program. You would then have work authorization and be protected from deportation.
  • The DACA program may be terminated, but people who already have DACA may still have work authorization and be protected from deportation until their DACA and work permit expire.
  • The Trump administration may decide to stop accepting first-time applications for DACA but continue to allow people who already have DACA to renew it.
  • Legislation such as the BRIDGE Act could be enacted that would make people who have DACA automatically eligible for work authorization and protection from deportation.

I’ve decided to go ahead and apply for DACA. What else should I know before I submit my application?

If you decide to submit an application after you’ve consulted with an attorney or accredited representative, we recommend that you include in your application a completed form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. The G-28 must be completed by your attorney or accredited representative. It provides information about their eligibility to act on your behalf.

Also, make sure to use the latest edition of Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), which is dated 01/17/17 (the date is in the form’s bottom-left corner). Beginning February 21, 2017, USCIS will no longer accept applications submitted on any earlier version of the form. The processing of your DACA application may be delayed if you don’t submit it on the form dated 01/17/17, because USCIS may send you a notice telling you that you must resubmit the application on the 01/17/17 version.

You can take certain additional steps that may get your application processed faster than it would be otherwise. For example, if you receive the notice of your biometrics appointment and don’t want to wait until the appointment time, you could go to the Application Support Center that’s listed on the notice and try to get a walk-in appointment. You could also try taking the steps described in NILC’s Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed.

More information about submitting a first-time application for DACA is available at www.nilc.org/faqdeferredactionyouth/.

If you decide not to submit an application for DACA at this time, while you’re waiting to see what the Trump administration decides about the DACA program you can gather any supporting documents that you will have to submit with your application if and when you apply. You can also fill out the application forms so they will be ready to file.

I already have DACA and am deciding whether to apply to renew it. Should I submit my renewal application?

If you already have DACA and are considering whether to apply to renew it, immigration authorities already have the information on your original application, so there is less risk in submitting the renewal application than in submitting a first-time application. Because we don’t know what might happen to DACA under the Trump administration, we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals–accredited representative before submitting a renewal application.

It usually takes USCIS about 120 days to process a DACA renewal application. However, some renewals have been processed in less time, some even within a month of the time they were submitted.

It’s possible that the DACA program could be terminated before USCIS is able to review and approve your renewal application, and we don’t know what USCIS will do about pending renewal applications. It’s possible not only that your application will not be approved, but that you may lose the $495 application fee.[3]

We don’t yet know how the Trump administration, if it terminates the DACA program, will treat DACA and work permits that have already been issued and have not yet expired. It may decide either to revoke all DACA recipients’ DACA and work permits immediately, or it may allow people to keep their DACA and work permits until they expire, but just not renew them.

There are scenarios under which submitting your renewal application now may have positive results. For example, if the DACA program is not terminated before your renewal application is approved, the following possibilities would still exist:

  • The Trump administration may decide not to terminate the DACA program. You would then have work authorization and be protected from deportation for an additional two years.
  • The DACA program may be terminated, but people who already have DACA may still have work authorization and be protected from deportation until their DACA and work permit expire. Under this possibility, you would have work authorization and be protected from deportation for an additional two years.
  • The Trump administration may decide to stop accepting first-time applications for DACA but continue to allow people who already have DACA to renew it. Under this possibility, it may be that only people who have a valid, unexpired work permit under DACA will be eligible to apply to renew it.
  • Legislation such as the BRIDGE Act could be enacted that would make people who have DACA automatically eligible for work authorization and protection from deportation.

I’ve decided to go ahead and apply to renew my DACA. What else should I know before I submit my renewal application?

If you decide to submit a renewal application after you’ve consulted with an attorney or accredited representative, we recommend that you include in your application a completed form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. The G-28 must be completed by your attorney or accredited representative. It provides information about their eligibility to act on your behalf.

You may apply to renew your DACA at any time before its expiration date, even if it is not set to expire until late 2017.

Make sure to use the latest edition of Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), which is dated 01/17/17 (the date is in the form’s bottom-left corner). Beginning February 21, 2017, USCIS will no longer accept applications submitted on any earlier version of the form. The processing of your DACA application may be delayed if you don’t submit it on the form dated 01/17/17, because USCIS may send you a notice telling you that you must resubmit the application on the 01/17/17 version.

You can take certain additional steps that may get your application processed faster than it would be otherwise. For example, if you receive the notice of your biometrics appointment and don’t want to wait until the appointment time, you could go to the Application Support Center that’s listed on the notice and try to get a walk-in appointment. You could also try taking the steps described in NILC’s Steps to Take if Your DACA Renewal Is Delayed.

More information about submitting a DACA renewal application is available at www.nilc.org/dacarenewalprocess/.

I have DACA and was planning to take a trip outside the States. Should I still go?

If you have DACA and want to continue living in the U.S., you should never travel abroad unless you have applied for and received advance parole from USCIS. Advance parole is permission from USCIS to return to the U.S. after traveling abroad.

However, because we are not sure about what the Trump administration will do with respect to DACA, our general recommendation is that people with DACA not travel abroad at this time. If you decide that you must travel outside the U.S., and if you receive advance parole, we recommend that you keep your trip as short as possible. We also recommend that you arrange to have your BIA–accredited representative or attorney standing by, available by phone, when you return to the U.S. so they can provide real-time advice if the immigration officer tries to prevent you from entering. Even if you’ve received advance parole, people with DACA may find it harder under the present administration to be admitted into the U.S. after they’ve traveled abroad, nor is it certain that you will be allowed back into the U.S. if you leave.

What will happen to the information on DACA applications?

Currently, USCIS’s policy is that it does not share information about a DACA applicant or the applicant’s family members with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for immigration enforcement purposes unless there are serious criminal, fraud, or national security issues with the case.[4] This policy is based on a 2011 USCIS memo which states that USCIS will refer to ICE only cases that raise fraud or “egregious public safety” concerns (such as that the applicant has a serious criminal conviction).[5] Changing these policies would require that USCIS change its memo and guidance.

If I have DACA, will I be deported if the DACA program is terminated?

People with DACA would not necessarily be automatically at greater risk of being deported than other undocumented immigrants if the DACA program is terminated.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers people who, for example, have felony criminal convictions or recent deportation orders as being “enforcement priorities.”[6] DHS assigns higher priority to detaining and deporting people who it considers enforcement priorities. People with DACA are considered “low priorities” for deportation, based on how long they’ve lived in the U.S., their ties to the U.S., and their not having committed serious crimes. Keep in mind, though, that the Trump administration may change these priorities.

__________________

Remember that DACA was an organizing victory won by undocumented immigrant youth. It took a lot of sacrifice and resilience from a lot of young people for executive action to be announced and implemented, and it will take more from all of us to continue defending it. Together we can and will fight to keep DACA, and to prevent DACA recipients from being deported.

Visit www.nilc.org/daca/ for more information and updates about DACA. We also regularly post updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Remember, the information provided in this FAQ is not legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. To get legal advice about whether you should either apply for DACA for the first time or apply to renew your DACA, you should talk to a qualified immigration lawyer or a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)–accredited representative.

NOTES

[1] DACA is the acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. More information about DACA is available at www.nilc.org/daca/.

[2] The application fee increased from $465 to $495 as of December 23, 2016.

[3] The application fee increased from $465 to $495 as of December 23, 2016.

[4] See USCIS’s DACA FAQ, answers 19 and 20, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-process/frequently-asked-questions.

[5] See USCIS’s memorandum Revised Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Removable Aliens, Nov. 7, 2011, www.uscis.gov/NTA.

[6] See DHS’s memorandum Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, Nov. 20, 2014, www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/14_1120_memo_prosecutorial_discretion.pdf.

 


 

Family Action Plan In Case You Are Detained By Ice

– Adapted from materials from the Immigrant Defense Project and Make the Road NY

(The following information is from the Meyerlaw Office, PC)

Versión en español 

Although you may not be able to prevent yourself or your loved one from being arrested by ICE, these action steps will ensure that your attorney has the necessary information to defend you, and will also help inform your community about what ICE is doing – and how we can stop it!

Organize your important documents and keep them in a secure, safe place:

  • Personal Documents: copies of your passport, your birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce certificate, your children’s birth certificates, driver’s license, ITIN or social security cards, tax returns, and volunteer certificates or recognition. If you have a medical or mental health condition, also keep those documents available. You can also prepare a HIPAA Release, which will allow your relative access to your medical records. It is important that neither you nor your family members give ICE your passport.
  • Immigration documents: copies of both sides of your work permit or green card if you have one, your “A number” if you have one (an identification number that begins with “A” and that immigration gives you if you ever have a case), any documents that you may have from your past immigration case, and the name and contact information of any previous immigration attorney.
  • Criminal court documents: if you have ever been arrested, get a “certified disposition,” a “sentence order,” or a “Rule 11 Agreement,” from the court that had your case, and the name and contact information of your criminal attorney. Also, gather all documents that demonstrate proof of rehabilitation, such as completion of probation, rehabilitative classes, and/or community service.

Keep a list of important phone numbers:

  • Carry a small card in your wallet with a list of important phone numbers of family members and the contact information of someone who can be directly in touch with your future immigration lawyer.
  • If an immigration or criminal attorney has ever represented you, keep a list of their name(s) and contact information and place that list along with your other important documents.
  • If you have medical issues, keep a list of your doctor(s) name and contact information, and place that list along with your other important documents.

Plan for your family to be taken care of and to take care of you!

  • If you have children, decide who will take care of them in case something happens and make sure that person agrees. Make sure you have the person’s phone number on your “list of important numbers.”
  • When it comes to arranging for someone to have responsibility over your children, you have three options. The well-being and care of your children is important – think carefully before deciding on any of the options and consult an attorney when necessary. You can informally leave your children with someone you trust, make arrangements through a Power of Attorney temporary agreement to give a caretaker some power to make certain parental decisions on your behalf, or give legal custody or guardianship to your trusted relative or friend. Again, discuss options with an attorney before committing to any option.
  • Choose someone you trust to make decisions for you if you are detained. That person can sign a Power of Attorney agreement which will allow them to do things like get money from your bank account, access confidential documents, or pay important bills.

Stay connected to immigrant rights organizations and KNOW YOUR RIGHTS about what to do in case of any contact with law enforcement or ICE officers.

  • Do not lie to ICE but remember that you do have the right to stay silent!
  • Be sure to consult with a trusted immigration attorney or nonprofit organization to be screened for any possible immigration defense options in the case you are detained and placed into removal proceedings.