Summary of DACA Changes Announced 9/5/17

September 5, 2017— Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the 2012 Memo implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program has been rescinded by the Trump administration. The withdrawal will be implemented over the course of the next six (6) months. The Department of Homeland Security has released an implementation memo and will release an FAQ later today outlining the following details:

  1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will accept no further “new” DACA applications after today (Tuesday, September 5, 2017)—however they will process “new” applications received up to today. These applications will be processed according to prior policy
    1. “New” applications mean:
      1. Applications by persons who have never held DACA status; or,
      2. Applications where the applicant did not apply to renew DACA within one year of the expiration of their prior grant of DACA.
  2. Renewal applications for DACA will be accepted until October 5, 2017 and will be processed according to the prior existing policy.
    1. If approved, the DACA extension will be for the full two (2) year period, per existing policy.
    2. These applications will only be accepted for applicants whose DACA expires before March 5, 2018 (6 months from application date).
  3. Current DACA grants will not be rescinded and EADs already issued will not be revoked—they remain valid for the facially approved period of time.
  4. Advance Parole: No new advance parole documents will be approved under DACA.
    1. Currently pending applications will be closed and refunds issued. No new applications will be accepted.
    2. Advance Parole documents already approved will “generally” remain valid; however the memo specifically states admission will still be subject to CBP discretion at the border and USCIS retains authority to revoke or terminate advance parole at any time. Travel on Advance Parole based on DACA is quite risky in this environment.
  5. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) states they will not target DACA holders specifically for removal (i.e. will not use registration information to specifically target DACA holders); however, DACA holders will be treated like anyone else in the country illegally.[1]
    1. ICE stated they will not “proactively” seek out DACA holders/applicants using information in the databases for DACA application purposes; HOWEVER, that information could be obtained for national security and/or criminal investigations.
  6. Neither DHS nor ICE would provide information on what might happen if Congress does not enact one (of the several versions) of the DREAM Act currently being proposed in Congress.

The administration contends that a six month wind-down period for DACA, along with not revoking current DACA grants and employment authorization, will allow Congress to speak on the matter—giving them time to pass and for the federal government to implement one of the currently proposed versions of the DREAM Act.

[1] This is not fully explained in press reports and could mean several different things.  We withhold guessing on what this means until further information is released.