The President is ending DACA, what do I do now?
On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration set an arbitrary deadline to disenfranchise more than 800,000 young people, declaring the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. The decision to target some of America’s most talented, diverse, and successful immigrants is morally reprehensible. Immigration Equality will do everything we can to support and uplift this remarkable part of our community. We are with you!
In addition to recognizing the simple fact that America is the only country many DACA recipients have ever known, DACA allowed young immigrants the opportunity to thrive. And, as is always the case, when immigrants succeed so does all of America. Even if DACA ends, we know that you will continue to help secure a better future for everyone! You are strong, you are resilient, and you will overcome this setback.
Many of you have contacted Immigration Equality to ask “what do I do now?” Below, you will find our frequently asked DACA questions. In addition, we know that some of you may be eligible for other immigration benefits. Over the course of the next six months, Immigration Equality will be conducting free legal consultations for LGBTQ or HIV-positive DACA recipients who wish to explore other options.
For those of you who do not have other options, there is still hope. Immigration Equality Action Fund will lobby Congress to demand that they pass the DREAM Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide DACA recipients and other similarly situated young people a pathway to citizenship. To sign up for alerts or to take action in support of our lobbying efforts, click here. We need the DREAM Act now!
When will my work authorization expire?
If you currently have DACA, your work authorization will be valid until the expiration date listed on your work authorization document. If your work authorization expires before March 5, 2018, you may apply to renew it for two more years as long as you do so by October 5, 2017.
Can I apply for DACA for the first time within the next six months?
No. The Trump Administration will not grant any new DACA applications.
I provided the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with my address when I applied for DACA. How likely is it that ICE agents are going to come to my home?
This is a hard question to answer. While the President has indicated that individuals who had DACA will not be a priority for deportation, his general emphasis on deportations should be taken seriously. For as long as you live at an address known by the immigration agents, you are at risk.
What do I do if immigration agents or officers come to my home?
If Immigration agents come to your home and ask you if they can enter it, tell them “no.” Make sure your family, friends, loved ones, and anyone else living with you or visiting you also know not to open the door for ICE.
No one can enter your home without permission unless they have a search warrant or an arrest warrant signed by a judge.
If an officer informs you that they have a warrant, ask them to slip it under your door. Read it carefully. Immigration officers often have papers that look very official but are not judicial warrants. Please also note that immigration agents frequently come to a person’s home very early in the morning and claim to be the police. If someone says that they are a police officer, ask to see their badge. Look closely at the badge for the word “police,” as many immigration officers also have badges. If the officers cannot show you a police badge, they may be immigration officers. Regardless of which agency the officers work for, no one can enter your home without permission unless they have a search warrant or an arrest warrant signed by a judge.
How do I stay safe in public?
Being able to prove your identity is important for a lot of reasons in the United States. If possible, avoid carrying a passport or other papers that indicate that you are not in an immigration status. Some states and cities issue local IDs without reference to a person’s immigration status. Even a library card is better than no ID.
If someone approaches you claiming to be an immigration agent, respectfully ask to see their badge. Read it carefully. If they are an ICE agent and you do not have permission to be in the U.S., you always have the right to remain silent. You can also ask to speak to your lawyer before answering any questions.
You always have the right to remain silent. It is better to remain silent than to be dishonest with immigration agents.
If you are searched by immigration agents, note that they are generally not allowed to look in your wallet or to read your papers. A search of a person is generally restricted to looking for weapons or of possession of something illegal. You do not have to consent to any other kind of search.
Do not sign any document you do not understand. Ask to speak with a lawyer and for a hearing in immigration court before signing away any of your rights.
What do I do if immigration agents stop me in my car?
If you have a valid driver’s license, you may show that to an immigration officer. If you do not, you should ask if you are under arrest. If you are not, ask if you are free to go. Remember, you can always remain silent. You can also ask to speak to an attorney before you answer any questions. If officers ask if they can search your car or look in your trunk, you have the right to say “no.” Note, however, that if the police have “probable cause” to believe that you are involved in criminal activity, they may search your car anyway.
Is it safe for me to travel abroad? What about advanced parole?
If you are not documented in the United States, you should not travel internationally. If you do, it is very likely that you will be prevented from re-entering the United States. It is also likely that any pending immigration applications you have will be deemed by the U.S. government to be abandoned.
Some individuals with pending applications may be eligible for advance parole. Before you apply for or use advance parole, you should consult with a legal representative. Advance parole is not a guarantee that you will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. Under the Trump Administration, we recommend that you avoid travel.
If you have ever been arrested for a crime, convicted of a crime, or even accused of a crime, you should not travel internationally. If you find that you must travel, consult with a reputable immigration attorney before doing so.
Is it safe for me to travel domestically?
For those who are not in an immigration status, or who have applications pending, even domestic travel is risky.
If you are undocumented, or if you are waiting on a pending immigration application, you should avoid domestic air, train, or bus travel.
Please note that almost all domestic airports are also international airports. Therefore, immigration agents are very likely to be present at almost every airport. Similarly, there are many roads and highways near the borders of the U.S. where immigration agents set up checkpoints. And, finally, certain train and bus lines are regularly boarded and searched by ICE agents. Long distance travel, or travel near the border, is strongly discouraged.
Are U.S. territories such as the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico considered domestic or international travel?
While all U.S. territories are indisputably part of the United States, ICE has begun to police them as though they were foreign jurisdictions. Immigration Equality is currently contesting whether ICE should treat U.S. territories as though they are foreign jurisdictions. Several Immigration Equality clients have been detained by ICE while they were visiting U.S. territories. For example, in March, an asylum-seeker we represent was detained after visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even though he has a valid state ID and a valid work authorization document, ICE detained him anyway. While we are confident that we will win this issue in court, you should avoid travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories if unless you can show that you are a citizen, a permanent resident, or a valid, current visa holder.