DACA Program – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program was created in 2012 through Executive Order, by President Obama to protect certain individuals from deportation and give them legal work authorization. To be eligible for DACA, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Came to the U.S. under the age of sixteen (16);
  • Has continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years preceding the date of June 15, 2012;
  • Currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • Has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
  • Is not above the age of thirty.

The main point of DACA was to show prosecutorial discretion in the enforcement of existing immigration laws. By definition, people who qualified for DACA should have been removed from the U.S. because they did not have a legal status. [1]However, the Obama Administration believed these individuals were valuable to our society and, in essence, should not be punished for the legal violations of their parents.

Nearly 800,000 young people received legal work authorization. From a financial perspective, DACA has been extremely successful. DACA recipients, or Dreamers, contribute $2 billion annually to Social Security, $470 million into Medicare, will produce $92 billion federal revenue between 2019-2028 (assuming current DACA recipients are allowed to remain in the U.S.), and will add $1 trillion added to the U.S. GDP over the same time period.[2]

DACA has not only been successful from a financial perspective, but it has been successful in furthering essential society goals, such as education and diversity. Ninety-Six percent of Dreamers are either working or in school, 6% are business owners and 14% have already purchased a home. [3]

In 2017, the Trump Administration attempted to rescind the DACA program. Afterward, litigation proceeded, and several courts blocked the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the DACA program.  

DACA News 2019

Fast forward to today, on November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States began reviewing the constitutionality of the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the DACA program. [4] The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments and multiple reports have indicated it appears the Supreme Court is leaning toward siding with the Trump Administration. [5]. So, the question becomes what is next? If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Trump Administration, what happens to the roughly 800,000 Dreamers?

The sad reality is if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Trump Administration, and the Dreamers have not taken any action to address their current status, they risk losing their valid work authorization and any protected status. This would result in Dreamers being deported, most likely, to a country they do not remember. The truth is, many Dreamers would view the country in which they were born as foreign as I, a native-born Texan, would view anywhere other than the United States.

Options

Based on various initial reports of the Supreme Court’s perception of this case as well as the method in which this program was created and rescinded, we find it very likely that in 2020 there will be no DACA renewals. We find it far more likely the Trump Administration will win this court case and thousands of DACA recipients will fall out of legal status. While there may be hope of a deal between the Trump Administration and Congressional Democrats, the likelihood of legislation being passed to save the DACA program seems unlikely. This is especially true because of the fact that 2020 is an election year.

The questions become, so, what are the options? How do DACA recipients ensure they maintain valid work authorization and the ability to live and work in the U.S.? This is why it is so important that if you are a Dreamer or the employer of a Dreamer, you contact our law firm as soon as possible. There are a number of options, based on the individual circumstances of the Dreamer, that would potentially allow for a legal sponsorship of that individual.

There are options for DACA recipients that are both family-based petitions and employment-based petitions. There are different requirements for each type of application. Please note, if you are a Dreamer and you have committed a crime, you may be barred for the below types of applications.

If you are on DACA now, you may still submit your renewal application and we would advise you discuss this with us beforehand. [6] If you have never filed a DACA application, you may not do so at this point. [7]


[1] Memorandum from Janet Napolitano on Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children (June 15, 2012) (https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/s1-exercising-prosecutorial-discretion-individuals-who-came-to-us-as-children.pdf)

[2] DACA Facts: The Case for Protecting Dreamers, https://www.fwd.us/news/daca-facts/ (last visited November 15, 2019)

[3] DACA Facts: The Case for Protecting Dreamers, https://www.fwd.us/news/daca-facts/ (last visited November 15, 2019)

[4] Adrian Liptak, Supreme Court Appears Read to Let Trump End DACA Program, N.Y. Times: (Nov. 15, 2019), https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/us/supreme-court-dreamers.html

[5] Adrian Liptak, Supreme Court Appears Read to Let Trump End DACA Program, N.Y. Times: (Nov. 15, 2019), https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/us/supreme-court-dreamers.html

[6] NILC and United We Dream, Frequently Asked Questions USCIS Is Accepting DACA Renewal Applications (August 1, 2019), https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/faq-uscis-accepting-daca-renewal-applications/

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) [7] NILC and United We Dream, Frequently Asked Questions USCIS Is Accepting DACA Renewal Applications (August 1, 2019), https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/faq-uscis-accepting-daca-renewal-applications/

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Farmer, Farmer & Brown Law Firm, PLLC

The attorneys at Farmer, Farmer & Brown understand the value of a diversified workforce and are adept at navigating every facet of immigration law. Our team locates honest, accomplished workers to provide employers with exceptional talent from every corner of the globe.

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