What you need to know about DACA in the wake of the elections

DISCLAIMER: The DACA program has ended. You cannot apply for or renew DACA.

En español

PRESIDENT-ELECT, DONALD TRUMP AND HIS PROMISES

Trump has said that he will end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program when he takes the White House. Trump will not be president until January 20, 2017. Until that date, DACA remains in place and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to process applications for initial applicants and renewals.

KNOW THE RISK

For the moment, there is NOTHING confirmed. For those who have received or applied for DACA, you will not necessarily be targets for deportation. In the past, administrative programs like DACA have NEVER been used as a base for a deportation program.

INITIAL APPLICANTS

For people who have not yet requested DACA, the process takes several months, which is why, if you have not yet requested it, it is highly likely that you will not receive a decision before January 20, 2017 – and it is probable that the program might not exist.

Therefore, at this point potential applicants’ efforts to assemble an initial DACA application and pay the filing fees (which have gone up to $495, as of December 23, 2016) may result in no benefit and expose applicants to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

It is unknown whether the next Administration will terminate existing DACA grants or instead, not allow DACA recipients to renew.

RENEWALS

Those who have already received DACA are known by the government. Therefore, renewing DACA does not carry a new risk. In fact, renewing DACA may mean a DACA recipient can have a work permit until it expires one to two years into the next Administration.

One risk, however, is again that the renewal might not be adjudicated before Trump becomes President, and the effort and money to renew could be for nothing.

People who file to renew soon may be successful, as DACA renewals are currently being processed in 8 weeks with USCIS’ upgraded system.

ADVANCE PAROLE (Permission to travel)

At this point, advance parole may be harder to get, because processing time is three months or more, which would put approvals (even if filed today) and subsequent travel in March 2017.

Emergency advance parole requests, however, may still be useful in helping people travel and subsequently adjust status under 245(a).

Note: People that travel under Advance Parole through DACA should return to the United States before January 20, 2017.

Helpful links

Make an emergency plan

Explore your immigration options

Avoid fraud

Q&A about DACA

Know your rights