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DACA was rescinded, now it's back: What can Dreamers expect?

Many were angered and saddened by the announcement made by the Trump administration on September 5, 2017 that it would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The announcement meant that nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were protected by the program could face the possibility of deportation, despite the fact that they were brought into the U.S. as children.

But while many have been preparing for the worst, a surprising announcement was made that has given hope to thousands of Dreamers and their families: President Trump announced tentative talks with democrats regarding the continuation or improvement of DACA, explains a September NPR article. Unfortunately, it could takes months or years for this to happen, so, in the meantime, what does this mean for DACA applicants?

Important things for DACA applicants to know

Since there are only talks of a deal at this time, it's important for those affected by DACA to understand what could happen if a deal isn't finalized:

1. Initial DACA applications are no longer being accepted, but if you had one pending on or before September 5, 2017, it will still be adjudicated.

This means that USCIS will no longer grant any new DACA benefits to first-time applicants.  If you don't already have DACA, there is no longer any way for you to obtain it. However, those people whose initial DACA applications were received by USCIS on or before September 5, 2017 will still have their applications processed, and if approved, an initial DACA grant of two years will be given.

2. Your existing DACA status will remain valid until the date of expiration on your work permit, unless it is terminated or revoked such as after being convicted of a felony.

The immediate revocation of the DACA executive order does not mean the immediate revocation of your DACA status. Your status will remain in place until the expiration date stated on your work permit. 

For example, if you recently renewed your status and it currently expires in the summer of 2019, you will retain your status, unchanged and undisturbed, until that date. Of course, if you violate the terms of your status then it can still be revoked or terminated at any time. 

3. If your DACA status expires on or before March 5, 2018, you have until October 5, 2017 to file an application for a 2-year renewal.

USCIS is giving people 30 days to renew their DACA status, but only if their status is expiring within the six months following the announcement. That means if your status expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 (inclusive) you can still renew your DACA for the usual two-year period, but your renewal MUST be received by USCIS on or before October 5, 2017.

Be sure to send your renewal request via a traceable method, such as certified or priority mail. Double check for typos in your application, check, or envelope to minimize the chance of your renewal being rejected or delivered too late.

4. Former DACA beneficiaries whose status has expired will not be an enforcement priority.

Once your DACA status expires, whether that be in 2017, 2018, or 2019, you will be without legal authorization to remain or work in the United States; but the government has stated that deportation of former DACA beneficiaries will not be a priority. This doesn't mean that former DACA holders cannot or will not be deported. It only means that ICE will not make a special effort to specifically target former DACA grantees for deportation. 

However, do take into consideration that this announcement also came with the following disclaimer: "This policy, which may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice, is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by law by any party in any administrative, civil, or criminal matter."

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