One of the myths of Donald Trump’s decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is that no one will be hurt until next March. Supposedly, there was a six month extension for DACA and some resolution to the legal status crisis for 800,000 DACA recipients may be in store before then.
Most media commentary has focused on March 5, 2018 as the cutoff date for DACA, however, tens of thousands of these young immigrants will begin losing their DACA coverage beginning next month on October 6.
Jeff Sessions never mentioned this in his message on Tuesday, but a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that the last date for those with DACA to file for renewal of their legal employment authorization is Oct. 5, 2017. Only those whose permits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 are even being allowed to renew in this last gasp for DACA. These permits will be issued for two additional years of employment authorization.
In my experience as an immigration lawyer, most immigrants renewing a legal status or work authorization come in to see me a few months before their permit expires. We fill out the paperwork, file the application for renewal, and generally get the new permit before the old one expires. If the new permit does not come in time, employers can accept the receipt notice from Homeland Security that a renewal was filed to meet the legal requirements to continue to employ the immigrant.
The Oct. 5 renewal deadline means that many people with DACA, who have no idea that this new deadline even exists, will not file to renew their permits in time to even get the receipt that will allow them to continue working.
In other words, in less than than five weeks from today, many people with DACA will lose their legal work authorization and presumably be exposed to being deported.
To give you an idea of how many people with DACA are potentially exposed to being dropped from the program just in the last part of 2017, the Department of Homeland Security published statistics Tuesday that illustrate the large numbers at risk.
According to the DHS, “From August through December 2017, 201,678 individuals are set to have their DACA/EADs expire. Of these individuals, 55,258 already have submitted requests for renewal of DACA.”
In other words, nearly 150,000 do not have a renewal currently pending with the DHS.
There are two take-aways from this news. First, of course, anyone with DACA who wants to file for renewal should do so immediately. Second, the DACA tragedy will not start in March, it is happening now.