What can DACA recipients do now?

Following President Donald Trump's announcement that DACA will end, immigration experts offer advice to those concerned about their futures.
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Demonstrators hold signs during a protest in front of the White House after the Trump administration scrapped the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, putting more than 800,000 Dreamers at risk of deportation. Photo: Reuters

President Donald Trump’s recent decision to end DACA throws the lives of not only the approximately 800,000 beneficiaries into disarray, but also the thousands of others who are related to, friends with or co-workers of those immigrants, experts say.

 

Though many have spoken out against the move, from protesters taking to the streets to multiple states joining a lawsuit against the decision, DACA recipients are surely feeling scared, unsure and alone.

 

For all those who may be wondering what their futures will look like if DACA is dismantled, immigration experts have some things they want you to know.

 

“The most significant thing that we can tell DACA recipients is that they should try to get a lawyer to help them figure out what their personal options might be,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of NYCLU. “Immigration law is very complicated – the deck is stacked against immigrants – but lawyers really do help.”

 

Lieberman advised people to seek out free legal aid and other help from organizations like UnLocal, a nonprofit immigration legal needs service, and Make the Road.

Lieberman also advised anyone whose DACA status is set to expire before March 5 to file for renewal “as soon as possible,” she said, “and certainly in advance of Oct. 5,” the federal renewal deadline for those whose status expires between now and March.

Your DACA enrollment is valid until its expiration date, the National Immigration Law Center assured. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not be accepting any first-time DACA applications after Sept. 5, according to the organization.

In a post about the top things to know about the announcement of DACA ending, the law center assures individuals that they are not alone and offered a list of resources at weareheretostay.org.

"Though we are heartbroken and enraged, it is crucial in this moment to recall the tremendous organizing power and energy that won DACA in the first place,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of NILC, in a statement. "Now, more than ever, we must all stand up and fight alongside immigrant youth who are fighting to maintain their livelihoods and their sense of security and belonging in this country.”

If valid DACA holders are being detained or having their status arbitrarily terminated, “which is sadly not unheard of,” Lieberman said, she suggested contacting the ACLU’s Legal Intake Committee.

“I think people also need to really hold each other tight and be emotionally supportive,” she added, “which is no solution, but is really important.” 

 
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