What DACA Recipients Should Know Now and the Rights They Have

DACA supporters outside the White House (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

DACA supporters outside the White House (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

On September 5, 2017, the current Trump administration rescinded the program created in 2012 by former President Obama. According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are 22,000 young Filipino unauthorized children who are eligible for DACA but only 27 percent, or nearly 6,000, applied for it with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Not too many Filipinos filed for DACA compared with other minority immigrant population due to several factors, including fear of deportation and hesitation to submit critical information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Most also are apprehensive about possible repercussions on their undocumented parents.

The term “deferred action” in immigration law context refers to the discretionary act, through the recommendation of the Department of Homeland Security, not to prosecute or deport a noncitizen. It is an administrative choice to give some cases lower priority and is not an entitlement. So if deferred action no longer exists for the DACA recipients, they will lose their protection from removal/deportation.

The way DACA was rescinded came with three fundamental elements: first, there is a 6-month period before actual termination to allow certain DACA recipients to renew the their employment authorization for another 2 years or until 2019; secondly, the renewal period is only one month, with October 5, 2017 as the deadline to file for DACA renewal; lastly, although DACA recipients are low in priority for deportation it is not a guarantee that they will not be put in removal proceedings. For these reasons, the following tips are for all DACA recipients:

DREAMers march in Los Angeles during Labor Day (Photo by Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

DREAMers march in Los Angeles during Labor Day (Photo by Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

5 Things to Know About DACA Now

1. If You Do Not Have DACA or a DACA Application Pending.

DACA program has been terminated beginning September 5, 2017 and new applications are no longer being accepted by USCIS.

2. If You Have DACA That Expires on or Before March 5, 2018.

If you have DACA and a work permit that expires on or before March 5, 2018, you can apply for a 2-year renewal, but your application must be received on or before October 5, 2017.

3. If You Have DACA That Expires After March 5, 2018.

There is only a 6-month window provided from September 5, 2017 to March 5, 2018. If your DACA and work permit expire after March 5, 2018, you are no longer eligible for an extension. This means that your DACA, work authorization, and protection from deportation will expire on the date shown on your DACA approval notice and work permit.

4. If You Have a DACA Application Pending.

Before the announcement on September 5, 2017, there are certain DACA applications that were filed for extensions. If you have a DACA application that was received at USCIS on or before September 5, 2017, your application will continue to be processed.

5. If You Have DACA and a Valid Advance Parole Travel Document.

Although there are advance paroles that are still valid for travel, given the recent rescission, DACA recipients should desist from traveling unless it is for urgent reason. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents may still refuse entry to you at their discretion.

Remember, do not commit any unlawful act that will give ICE the opportunity to use it against you.

5 Tips on What Not To Do

1.Do not lose hope.

While you are not American at birth, you are very much an American in heart and mind by assimilation. You have a lot to give to this country, so hang in there as compassionate members of your community support and work hard to advocate for your protection before the U.S Congress.

2. Do not get yourself in trouble with the law.

Remember, do not commit any unlawful act that will give ICE the opportunity to use it against you. Stay out of trouble, as you always do.

3. Do not give up on other options.

Explore other legal options that may be applicable to you. Who knows, there might be an available family or employment petition that you may be eligible for. Talk to a professional legal counsel.

4. Do not be too trusting.

Do not divulge personal information about your DACA case to people you don’t know.

Talk only to people you trust. Since you are vulnerable at this point, there may be people who are tempted to take advantage of you. Be careful on who you trust.

5. Do not give up your rights.

Understand your rights, and know how to assert them when ICE comes knocking at your door. Even if you are without legal authorization, you still have rights under the law.

5 Tips In Case of ICE Arrest

DACA applications submitted to U.S. Department of Homeland Security contain personal information that may be used against the applicants if this information is submitted to ICE for enforcement. Although, the Trump administration stated that DACA recipients are low in priority for enforcement, an understanding of one’s rights during an encounter with an ICE agent is important. The following are tips about the of DACA recipients and how they can protect themselves.

1. Right to Privacy: Do Not Open Your Doors

ICE cannot enter your home without a warrant signed by a judge. Ask the ICE agent to slide the signed warrant under the door. Without a properly signed warrant, you should not allow them inside your home.

2. Right to Remain Silent

Tell the ICE agent that you are exercising this right: “I am exercising my fifth amendment right and choose to remain silent until I speak to my attorney.”

3. Right to Counsel

Do not sign any document without first speaking to an attorney.

4. Right to Contact Your Consulate

While DACA recipients have no contact with their homeland, consulates of countries of their birth, like Philippine Consulates, may be able provide assistance in limited ways.

5. Right to a Hearing

In case ICE apprehends and detains you, you have a due process right to a hearing and you should not to be immediately returned to your country of birth. Call your legal counsel.

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Atty. Lourdes S. Tancinco is a San Francisco based immigration lawyer and immigrant’s right advocate. She is the principal at the Tancinco Law Offices and may be reached at law@tancinco.com, facebook.com/tancincolaw, www.tancinco.com or 1 888 930 0808

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