Empowering undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals
WHAT WE KNOW NOW
DACA will likely end once Trump becomes President
President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) when he becomes President. However, he will not become President until he is inaugurated on January 20, 2017, so meanwhile DACA will remain in place and USCIS will continue processing both initial and renewal DACA requests.
We do not know when or how the Trump administration will end the DACA program. It could end the program effective immediately and instantly revoke work permits, or it could allow current DACA recipients to keep their work permits until they expire but not renew them.
Initial DACA applications should NOT be submitted (with some exceptions)
Generally, we do not recommend that someone apply for DACA as a first-time applicant, since first-time DACA applications are not likely to be processed before the next administration takes office and new applicants may be unnecessarily be exposing themselves to the Department of Homeland Security. However, there are some limited circumstances where the benefits to applying may outweigh the risks. We recommend that all potential DACA applicants consult with an attorney or BIA accredited representative before applying.
Renewal DACA applications SHOULD be submitted REGARDLESS of current expiration date
WHY RENEW? Since existing DACA recipients are already known to the government, renewal applications will not pose new or additional risks to recipients.* If the Trump administration allows DACA recipients to keep their work permits, then a new DACA renewal would mean a work permit for nearly two more years.
Additionally, renewal fees will increase soon. Beginning December 23, 2016, the DACA renewal fee will increase from $465 to $495.
WHEN TO RENEW? DACA recipients can submit renewal applications regardless of the expiration date of their current DACA. USCIS recommends filing 120 to 150 days before a expiration date, but many immigration attorneys report filing applications more than 180 days before expiration without any problem.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL RISKS? Given current USCIS processing times, some renewal requests might not be approved before the new administration takes office. If the DACA program is terminated soon after the new administration takes office, some individuals could lose their filing fees.
*DACA recipients with new or pending criminal charges should consult with an immigration attorneybeforesubmitting a renewal application.
DACA recipients should consider Advance Parole (Travel Abroad) WITH CAUTION
DACA recipients who last entered the U.S. without inspection (without permission) could benefit later in life if they successfully depart the U.S. and return with Advance Parole, particularly through a petition filed by a U.S. Citizen parent, spouse or adult child. There could still be time for such travel to be completed before the new administration takes office (January 20, 2017), but prospective travellers should be properly screened before leaving the U.S. to ensure they are likely to be able to re-enter.
Unfortunately, it could be risky for DACA recipients to be physically outside the U.S. (even with Advance Parole) on or after January 20, 2017. Therefore, we recommend that DACA recipients who are abroad now with Advance Parole (or those who plan to be) get legal advice about whether to change their travel plans.
DACA Renewals and California Driver's Licenses
This advisory explains how USCIS delays in processing DACA renewal requests can impact California driver’s licenses and what steps individuals can take to obtain a valid driver’s license while they wait for their DACA renewal and once they have received their renewal. Click here to read more.