Trump Rescinds DACA Effective March 5, 2018

The Trump Administration today announced its recision of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to take final effect on March 5, 2018. The action responds to threatened litigation by Texas and 8 other states challenging the program's constitutionality (Tennessee recently withdrew from the group). Current DACA beneficiaries may apply to extend their employment authorization, at least initially, but from September 5, 2017, USCIS will reject applications for initial DACA registration. Applications by current DACA beneficiaries to extend employment authorization must be filed by October 5, 2017.

The DACA program was established in June 2012 by the Obama Administration providing what amounted to deferred removal to young people who entered the U.S. as children, usually accompanying their parents. An estimated 800,000 individuals have registered, receiving lawful status and employment authorization in exchange for providing information about their whereabouts and establishing that they have completed or are pursuing an education, and have clean criminal records.

Trump has called on Congress to legislate a solution to provide a track for DACA recipients who will see their status end. A bipartisan Dream Act has been pending in the Senate for several months, with growing support among Republican members. Corporate leaders have become increasingly vocal in their support for the program as well.

The viability of Dreamer legislation rests in large part on the demands that conservative Republicans place on any bill providing DACA relief. One recently floated proposal would provide DACA relief only if at the same time annual immigration totals were dramatically reduced and the electronic E-verify employment verification system became mandatory for all employers. It is highly unlikely at this point that Democrats would agree to these additions.

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