Over the last two weeks, I have spoken at a number of meetings with young immigrants who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) following the announcement on September 5 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that DACA is ending. I wanted to post some of the questions and my answers. These answers are not legal advice, which can only be obtained from an attorney or a BIA Accredited Representative.
Q. My DACA is expiring in January. In the past I used to file a renewal a couple of months before it expired. Can I still do that?
A. No. Homeland Security says that it will only renew DACA if the renewal is received by October 5, 2017. Everyone whose DACA will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 must file before that date or they will lose DACA.
There is some talk about extending the October 5 deadline, but you should act as though that is not going to change and renew as soon as possible if you want to continue in the DACA program.
Also, please keep in mind that the DACA renewal application must be received by Homeland Security by October 5. If you mail the application on October 5, that will be too late. Since the mail can be slow, any application mailed after September 26 should be sent by Priority Mail Overnight Service (not Federal Express).
Q. Since DACA will end on March 5, 2018, according to Attorney General Sessions, why would I even apply for renewal?
A. Work authorizations will be issued for two years, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The renewal work authorizations will be good until at least late 2019, even if the program itself ends on March 5, 2018. There is a chance that the president may try to revoke work permits issued that extend beyond March 5, but that would have to be done individually.
Q. I am afraid that if I renew, I will be putting my parents in danger.
A. On the DACA renewal form, you do not give any additional information about your parents. You are not creating any additional danger for them by renewing DACA.
Q. I hear that there is a “deal” between President Trump and the Democrats to give permanent status to people with DACA. Shouldn’t I wait to see how the “deal” works out before applying to renew DACA?
A. Because there are only two weeks left for renewals, it is unlikely that any “deal” will be concluded and the necessary legislation passed prior to October 5. If you decide that you want to continue with the DACA work authorization, you need to renew before any final “deal” is reached.
Also, even if a deal is reached, it is unlikely to go into effect soon. Applying to renew DACA will allow you to keep working legally in the U.S. while the long legislative process works itself out.
Q. Is there anywhere I can get free help with this?
A. Yes. The Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) is offering free community educational workshops in Spanish for those with DACA explaining their options on September 21 at 6 p.m. in both CARECEN offices at 91 N. Franklin St. Suite 208 in Hempstead and 2000 Brentwood Rd. (Second Floor) in Brentwood.
CARECEN is also offering free legal assistance at both of our offices for those required to renew DACA. Call 516-489-8330 in Nassau and 631-273-8721 in Suffolk for an appointment
Hofstra Law School is offering free DACA Renewal Clinics on the following Fridays: September 22 and 29 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hofstra Legal Clinic offices. Call 516-463-5934 for directions.
There will also be a free clinic at the Salvadoran Consulate in Brentwood offered by Hofstra Law School and assisted by CARECEN on September 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What you need to bring to the Hofstra Clinic:
• Employment authorization card (work permit)
• Previously filed application for Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals [Form i-821d] (if available).
• Copy of Social Security card
• Two passport-sized photographs
• USCIS fee of $495 (money order or check – NO CASH)