Deferred action is the use of prosecutorial discretion to defer a removal action against a person for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status but grantees who are in economic need can apply for employment authorization. President Obama’s administration used this discretionary power for persons who came to the United States before his or her 16th birthday. Removal actions are deferred for two years under this program and employment authorization lasts the duration of the deferred action.
If you have already been granted DACA and the grant is expiring soon, you have the choice of renewing or not renewing. I recommend talking with an immigration lawyer to make sure you are still eligible if you choose to renew.
There is a risk to renewing. President-elect Trump has said in the past he intends to discontinue almost all of President Obama’s executive actions. We do not know if the President-elect will discontinue the DACA program or not. Renewals take at least a few months to be processed by USCIS. It is possible that during the processing time of the DACA request the program is stopped. This means a renewal applicant could lose the money paid for a renewal if the program is stopped.
Since the government already has an applicant’s information and decided not to remove an applicant from the country for now, I do not believe there is an additional risk of applying for a renewal because the government already knows how to find or contact a renewal applicant. Employment authorization cannot be renewed without a renewal application. In other words, I do not believe a renewal applicant will be put in a worse situation by attempting a renewal.
For those people who have never applied for DACA and are eligible, I would wait a few months before applying to see what is going to happen with the program.
Many people in the country have various opinions about immigration and which laws should exist. I would hope the President-elect and new Congress would have mercy on DACA recipients because almost all of them were forced to come to the United States at a young age. Many of them do not remember their home countries and out of that population some were told early in life they were born in the United States only to be told later in life they were actually born in another country.
If you have any questions regarding immigration, please feel free to call me, immigration attorney Shawn Mesa at (813) 679-5780.
Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on this information is taken at your own risk.