This article was updated.
As expected, Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced the end of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program despite widespread support in favor of the nearly 800,000 DREAMERS, who have benefitted from the program. The gradual phase out over six-months is supposed to give Congress time to consider a legislative solution.
Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Elaine Duke, said in a statement:
This Administration’s decision to terminate DACA was not taken lightly. The Department of Justice has carefully evaluated the program’s Constitutionality and determined it conflicts with our existing immigration laws. As a result of recent litigation, we were faced with two options: wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation; or allow the judiciary to potentially shut the program down completely and immediately. We chose the least disruptive option.
Accordingly, Secretary Duke issued a memo outlining the transition process. Some key points include:
- Current DACA recipients: Previously issued EADs and grants of deferred action will remain valid for their full validity period. DHS will not terminate deferred action or revoke EADs solely on the basis of the DACA program rescission. DHS will continue to retain its authority to terminate or deny deferred action where it deems appropriate.
- Pending initial DACA requests: Pending initial requests for DACA and related EAD applications will be adjudicated. No new initial requests for DACA and related EAD applications will be accepted after September 5, 2017.
- Pending DACA renewals: Pending renewals will be adjudicated.
- New DACA renewals: DACA beneficiaries expiring between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 can file renewal applications. Renewals must be accepted by DHS by October 5, 2017. It is not yet known whether DHS will grant renewals for the full two-year period or a shorter period.
- Advance parole applications: No new DACA advance parole applications will be approved. All pending advance parole applications will be administratively closed and fees will be returned.
- Current DACA advance parole documents: Previously approved advance parole documents will generally be honored, though DHS retains the authority to deny admission and/or revoke or terminate parole where it deems appropriate.
DHS has also posted an FAQ about the rescission of DACA.
DHS released a “Talking Points” memo right after announcing that it would end the DACA program. Among other things in the memo:
The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States—including proactively seeking travel documentation—or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.