Trump Administration Rescinds DACA Program (Sept. 6, 2017)

As President Bravman explained in his recent email to campus, on Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced its rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Specifically, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that the Department of Justice has advised the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it should begin winding down the DACA program in anticipation of a complete termination effective March 5, 2018. Also yesterday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke issued a memorandum detailing the rescission, as well as FAQs.

The DACA program was established on June 15, 2012, by President Barack, providing a period of deferred deportation action against certain illegal aliens. Those individuals who (1) were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012; (2) came to the U.S. before turning 16; (3) have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007; (4) have no criminal record; and (5) have a high school diploma or GED certification, have been honorably discharged from the military, or are still in school, are eligible for DACA. While DACA does not confer legal status or provide a path to citizenship, it rendered these individuals low priorities for deportation enforcement and provided the opportunity for authorization to work in the U.S.

According to the Assistant Secretary’s memorandum, the wind-down of the DACA program will occur between now and March 5, 2018, subject to the following:

  • DHS will adjudicate properly-filed DACA initial requests that it has accepted for consideration as of Sept. 5, 2017, on a case-by-case basis. DHS will not accept any new DACA initial requests after Sept. 5, 2017.
  • DHS will adjudicate properly-filed DACA renewal requests that it has accepted for consideration as of Sept. 5, 2017, on a case-by-case basis. It will adjudicate renewal applications from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, provided that DHS has accepted the renewal requests as of Oct. 5, 2017. DHS will reject all DACA renewal requests filed outside these parameters, including that DACA beneficiaries with more than six months remaining in their current approval will not be allowed to extend.
  • DHS will not terminate previously-issued deferred action based solely on the Sept. 5 memorandum for the remaining duration of the validity periods.
  • DHS will not approve any new or pending applications for advance parole (essentially a travel document), and will instead close those applications and refund associated fees. DHS will honor advance parole approvals previously granted, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) retains the authority to determine the admissibility of any person presenting at the border, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) retains the authority to revoke or terminate an advance parole document at any time. Because USCIS will not issue any more travel approvals for DACA beneficiaries, it is recommended that DACA beneficiaries remain in the U.S. and not travel abroad even if they received the required travel permission (i.e., advance parole) from USCIS, because there is no guaranty they would be allowed to return.
  • DHS will continue to exercise its discretionary authority to terminate or deny deferred action when immigration officials determine such denial is “appropriate.”

In the months leading up to this action by the White House, several bills were introduced in an effort to preserve and extend DACA’s protections. We will monitor the status of these bills and provide further updates as information becomes available.

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