The Trump Administration announced that it intends to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as “DACA.” The program, established by Executive Order in 2012, affects approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and were granted protection from deportability and issued valid work authorization. In today’s announcement, the Administration indicated it would pursue an “orderly, lawful wind down” of the program. Further specifics on the near-term effects on the approximately 800,000 current DACA beneficiaries were not made immediately clear. However, the Administration has noted that it will no longer accept new DACA applications.
Although there are reports that lawmakers are drafting a bill that would provide a pathway to permanent residence to individuals without status who came to the U.S. as children, whether Congress will enact such legislation is uncertain. Over the past decade, Republicans, who now control the Congress, have repeatedly blocked similar legislation from passing. Many employers, industry groups, and business leaders are urging Congress to act to protect the program. If Congress does not take remedial action, once DACA authorization expires, the approximately 800,000 individuals affected will lose work authorization and protected status, and will be placed at risk of deportation.
What Employers and Foreign Nationals Should Expect
Employers should be aware that employees with DACA status may lose work eligibility and/or the ability to remain in the U.S. Employers may also wish to consider working with legislative advocacy partners to support legislation. Foreign nationals with DACA status should consult with immigration counsel to discuss possible alternative immigration options and plan for program termination.
All DACA benefits are provided on a two-year basis. USCIS has indicated that individuals who currently have DACA will be allowed to retain both DACA and their work authorizations (EADs) until they expire. USCIS has also announced that it will adjudicate DACA submissions on a case-by-case basis, including:
For more details, see the USCIS website here.
Gibney will continue to closely monitor these developments. For more information on this alert, please contact your designated Gibney representative, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.