On September 5th, the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), and announced a six-month process for winding down the program. Guidance is available from the Department of Homeland Security, dhs.gov, in a number of press releases issued on Sep. 5th.
The Obama administration initiated DACA in 2012 for “Dreamers,” children brought into the USA illegally by their parents, allowing them to apply for a two-year, renewable deferred action on deportation and a work permit, called an EAD, short for “employment authorization document.”
The Trump administration was acting under a June 29th threat of legal action against DACA by the attorneys general of Texas and other states, if it did not do away with DACA. The attorneys general had already persuaded the federal courts to strike down a sister program, DAPA, “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents,” and would likely have succeeded against DACA.
Current recipients of DACA are protected until their permits expire, and, if their permits expire before March 5, 2018, they may apply for a two-year renewal by October 5, 2017. Initial applications for DACA status already filed by September 5th with still be processed, but initial applications filed after that date will not be accepted or processed.
There is a lot at stake; DACA was not an inconsequential program. Nationwide, there are about 800,000 Dreamers covered by DACA, and 124,000 of them are in Texas.
In announcing the rescission of DACA, the Trump administration called for Congress to address the issue. In the meantime, companies may still hire DACA recipients, those that already employ DACA recipients may continue to do so, and all should keep their I-9s in order and an eye on the expiration dates of DACA employees’ EADs.