DACA is Dying: What You Need to Know

By W. John Vandenberg

It hurts to write this title.  But we also need to be honest about where we are now.  Because DACA is dying.

In case you missed it, on September 5, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions 08-daca-dreamer-w710-h473announced the “winding down” of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”).  There are a lot of sources of information directly from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service.  Here is a summary of what you need to know about the announcement NOW:

  1. No new initial (first ever) DACA applications will be accepted after September 5, 2017.  If you didn’t already mail out your initial DACA application so that it arrived on September 5 – no DACA for you.  That said, maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world.  At least you didn’t give Immigration & Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) your home address — there has been some concern that ICE could use this information to find and deport DACA’s after the program ends.
  2. DACA expiring before March 5, 2018?  You have until October 5 to renew.  Don’t wait til the last minute!!!  If you’re short on cash for the filing fee, the Mexican Consulate can assist you if you are a Mexican Citizen.  Other non-profits may help.  Or maybe even your employer.  Ask!  Because you got less than 30 days to get this done.  If you’re in the Philadelphia Area, the Pennsylvania Immigrant and Citizenship Coalition, HIAS, and the Nationalities Service Center are all scrambling to help DACA’s who need help and even money for the filing fee.  This is a deadline.  Got it?
  3. If your DACA expires after March 5, 2018, then you’ve got what you’ve got.  Which may be 6 months or longer.  Make good use of it!  And pray for a legislative fix, or at least an extension.
  4. If you lose your Employment Authorization Document (“EAD,” or Work Card), don’t panic!  You can get a new one.  Though you won’t get a new expiration date.
  5. No new Advance Paroles will be issued.  If your application is pending, it will be administratively closed and you’ll get your money back.
  6. Do you currently have Advance Parole?  Good for you!  It’s still valid for the period of time given.  Recent reports of post-September 5, 2017 DACA Advance Parole entries have been fine.
  7. When your DACA/EAD card expires: that’s the end of your Deferred Action.  If and ICE officer arrests you, they can detain you.  Even with DACA, if ICE arrests you – especially for criminal matters – they can ask USCIS to cancel your DACA.  And they will.  So PLEASE do not get into trouble!

OK, info and warnings over.  What next?  Lawyer up. Now.  For three really good reasons.

keep calm and lawyer up graphicFirst, an experienced and trustworthy immigration lawyer might be able to figure out a way to get you something better than DACA. Maybe you or a DACA you know has been a victim of crime, or trafficking.  Or maybe they qualify for Amnesty through a parent or family member.  If you just filled out DACA forms, you don’t know.  Because DACA appears to be coming to an end, now is the time.  To get an idea, answer our 27 questions.  Then call us to see how we can help.

Second, it’s time to lawyer up because you may need a good immigration lawyer sooner than you think.  To help you or a family member or friend who gets placed into deportation proceedings. To file a Stay of Removal.  To try to bond you out if you are detained and eligible for a bond. Or just to help you make sense out of all the info you’re getting from Googling it (yea, I know you are). And you might just note that Google actually hires immigration lawyers for their Immigration Specialist positions – it doesn’t Google for immigration answers.  They’re smart people.

And third, lawyer up because we can be really helpful.  I reached out to everyone I represent to answer questions personally.  All the good immigration attorneys I know did the same thing. DACA is special, and DACA’s are special people.  You have a lot of allies cheering for you – don’t forget that.  I want to make sure none of my DACA clients quit schotumblr_o13hq5RjSe1qaedvuo7_r2_250ol (don’t do it), that they realize they have options out there (everyone does, some more, some less), and reminding them that if Immigration Law has one maxim, it’s this: be here. As long as you are in the United States, you have options.  And everyone DACA has been here for at least 10 years, so they know what it takes to make sure they are here when we get a DREAMER bill, or DACA gets extended, or something good happens to the person (like a loving marriage to US citizen, which can lead to a greencard), or something bad happens (like being a victim of a violent crime , which can give you a chance for a U visa that can lead to a greencard).

So, make the most of the time you have, DACA’s.  Stay out of trouble, of course.  And lawyer up!  Hogan & Vandenberg is here to help you.  Our office number is (610) 664-6271 if you’re in Philadelphia, and (302) 225-2734 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Hogan & Vandenberg or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

 

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New Rules for Life Under the Trump Administration

by W. John Yahya Vandenberg

So, as you know, President Trump is rapidly issuing Executive Orders. Some of these orders are having major impacts on immigrants and other persons who are not (yet) U.S. citizens.

In light of these developments, we have the following recommendations for persons who are not U.S. citizens:

1. If you are undocumented, then you should be sure that at least two trusted individuals know your name, date of birth, country of origin, “A number” (if you have one), and have the contact information for our office.

2. If you are a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (greencard holder), student, visitor, or in other lawful status, carry a copy of your green card, I-94 card, or other proof of legal status with you.

3. If you are here on a student, visitor, exchange, or temporary worker status, CONSULT WITH ME before traveling out of the U.S.  I am NOT telling you to violate or overstay your status.  I’m saying that your legal status today may not be the same as it was on January 25, 2017.  There have, as I’m sure you know, been some changes.

4. If you are from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, or Somalia, it is highly likely you will not be able to return if you leave the U.S. It doesn’t matter if you have a greencard or a refugee travel documents – do not leave the United States.  If you need to go, CONSULT WITH ME.  Otherwise, no one can say with certainly when — or if — you will be allowed back in.

5. If you have DACA, CONSULT WITH ME before traveling on an Advance Parole. There is a chance that in the next week or so there will be no more Advance Parole for DACA’s.  And you could get stuck outside the US without a chance to come back.

6. If you have a pending I-589 asylum application, I-360 application (VAWA/victim of abuse or Widow/Widower petition, or Religious Worker) or I-485 adjustment of status application, carry a copy of the receipt with you AND give a copy to a trusted person.  And do NOT leave the United States if you are from one of the seven countries.

7. If you have a valid social security card, driver’s license, and/or work permit, carry that with you and give a copy to a trusted person.

8. If you are not currently in status (meaning that you do not have a valid non-immigrant or immigrant visa) for any reason, and have been in the U.S. for more than two years, GET PROOF TOGETHER NOW PROVING YOUR PRESENCE. Proof could be bank statements, phone bills, rent receipts, your signature on your children’s report cards, or other documents. Carry a copy of these documents with you (or keep them in your car), and give a copy a trusted person. Do NOT carry with you any document that says where you were born. This is because it is possible that the new Trump Executive Order could mean that undocumented persons who have been in the U.S. for less than two years could be subjected to “Expedited Removal” without the right to see an Immigration Judge and fight your deportation in Immigration Court.  If they can’t prove where you were born, then we may be able to get the deportation thrown out of court.

9. If you are afraid of being persecuted in your home country and have not yet filed for asylum, CONSULT WITH ME as soon as possible to analyze your asylum case.

10. If you have children: first, THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO GO TO SCHOOL.  Do not pull your children from school because they don’t have any status in the United States.  The Supreme Court states they have the right to their education, no matter their status.  And generally, ICE stays away as a policy matter from churches and schools.

Second, your children  should always have the name and contact information of a trusted person, and the trusted person should have your information. To be clear, I do NOT believe that ICE will go to schools. But if you get picked up by ICE while the kids are at school, they are going to need a safe place to go after school.  They may need to call your friend to get there.

11. If you do not have a license, consider carefully whether you really need to drive or not. Right now, Philadelphia seems safe. The counties – Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware… I am not so sure. Trump’s Executive Order appears to give police officers to ask about immigration status. You could be taken in and turned over to ICE.

12. If you are in a car which is stopped, only the driver has to present a license. Any passenger should only give his/her name and not answer any other questions. Ask if you are free to leave; if so, leave calmly.

13. If you are stopped by police on the street, you have to give them your name and where you live. Ask if you are free to leave. If not, consider yourself under arrest.

14. If you are arrested, repeat clearly that you want to remain silent and you want a lawyer. Do not answer ANY questions other than your name and your address. Call me, or someone you trust, and tell them to call me.

15. If someone comes to your door saying “Police, open up” DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. Ask the officials if they have a WARRANT, to pass it under the door. Take a photo of the warrant and send it to me or other trusted person. If the warrant is not signed by a JUDGE or MAGISTRATE and does not have your name and address on it, you do not have to open the door. Don’t answer any questions.

These are difficult times we are entering.  If it makes you feel any better, it’s not the first time a government has scapegoated immigrants.  We’re here for you, and will fight for your rights.