Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA, on March 5, 2018. The DACA program, which President Obama enacted by executive action in 2012, protects approximately 800,000 people who were brought to the United States as children without legal immigration status. In addition to protections from deportation, DACA status also provides these individuals with employment authorization.
As of Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security will no longer accept new initial DACA applications, though previously approved DACA applications will remain in effect through their current expiration date. Individuals whose DACA status will expire before March 5, 2018 will be allowed to apply for a 2-year renewal as long as the renewal application is submitted by October 5, 2017. Currently pending applications which were received by Tuesday, September 5 will still be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
Additionally, DHS will no longer accept requests for advanced parole for DACA recipients, though previously issued advanced parole documents will remain valid. Currently pending requests for advanced parole will not be adjudicated, and fees will be returned to the applicants. Although previously approved grants of advanced parole remain valid, Customs and Border Protection will continue to exercise discretion to determine if individuals presenting at the border are in fact admissible and eligible for parole.
The six month timespan from today until March 5, 2018 will provide Congress an opportunity to enact protections for DACA recipients prior to the program’s termination, but the likelihood of Congress passing such legislation remains uncertain.