On June 15, 2017, Department of Homeland Secretary John Kelly issued a Policy Memo regarding two programs: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens (DAPA) and there was good news and bad news. The bad news – Secretary Kelly rescinded the November 20, 2014 memo that created DAPA. DAPA was an Obama program that awarded deferred action from deportation and a work permit to those parents of U.S. citizen children that met certain criteria, such as having lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010 and other factors. But before the program could be implemented, 26 states joined in a lawsuit against DAPA, and a Federal Judge from the District Court for the Southern District of Texas enjoined the DAPA program, preventing it from ever being executed. The good news – Secretary Kelly left in tact the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) program. Unfortunately certain provisions in the DAPA policy memorandum that expanded DACA such as allowing a 3-year work permit instead of 2 year, and eliminating the eligibility age cap of 31 years old were also eliminated. So DACA remains as is for now, pursuant to the June 15, 2012 Memorandum. Although this appears to be a reprieve for the DACA program for now, the Trump administration would not commit to the long-term fate of DACA. For now, Work permits for DACA recipients will not be revoked, and the program continues to be open to new and renewal applications. You can still apply for DACA if you meet the following requirements:
- You were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012;
- You came to the United States before your sixteenth birthday;
- You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 to the present;
- You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you apply;
- You had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- You are currently in school or have graduated or are studying for a GED;
- You have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more minor misdemeanors.
If you have DACA currently, it is advisable that you continue to renew your work permit before it expires. If you are considering applying for DACA for the first time, speak to an experienced immigration attorney about the risks that may be involved for your particular situation.