• September 14, 2017

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) UPDATES

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) UPDATES

150 150 Office of Immigrant Affairs

Updated September 21, 2017 10:30 a.m.

We will continue to update this DACA fact sheet as more details emerge. Check back for the latest updates from the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs. 

WHAT IS DACA?

In June 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. The program provides qualifying individuals:

  • Permission to Stay – DACA provides permission for individuals to live, work and study in the U.S. DACA benefits last for two years, and can be renewed.
  • Opportunity to Renew – DACA can be renewed every two years. You cannot age-out of the DACA program.
  • Benefits – DACA recipients can apply for a work permit and get a social security number and driver’s license.

Even though DACA grants lawful presence in the United States, it will NOT change your immigration status and is NOT a pathway to citizenship. DACA benefits do not extend to family members and can be terminated at any time.

On Sept. 5, 2017, DHS announced that after September 5, 2017, no new DACA applications will be accepted. DACA recipients whose benefits expire before March 5, 2018 may apply for renewals, but renewal applications are due by Oct. 5, 2017. For all other DACA recipients, benefits will end at the end of the current two-year period, unless Congress passes a new law.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE DACA ENDS:

On September 5, 2017, DHS announced an end to the DACA program, with limited opportunity for renewal of current benefits. This document provides general information, and legal questions should be directed to an attorney.  The Office of Immigrant Affairs can assist you with finding free or low-cost immigration advice.

1.New DACA Applications or Renewals

  • After September 5, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will not accept new DACA applications.
  • If you are a DACA recipient and your benefits expire before March 5, 2018, the USCIS will accept renewal applications, but only until October 5, 2017.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has advised that it will not target DACA recipients or applicants for renewal for enforcement. However, before submitting your renewal application you should consult with an immigration attorney if you have had any criminal convictions while receiving DACA benefits.

Note that any criminal record may put you at risk with immigration authorities. You should discuss your individual circumstances with an experienced immigration attorney before you decide whether to renew your DACA.

2. Risk of Deportation

A 2012 Executive Order granted DACA recipients “deferred action” from deportation. This means that a DACA recipient was deferred from removal action based on discretionary prosecutorial authority. Revoking DACA implies that DACA recipients will be treated in the same manner as all other undocumented immigrants. It does not necessarily mean that DACA recipients will be prioritized for deportation. However, the Administration has stated that it is prioritizing for removal anyone convicted of a crime or otherwise posing a threat to public safety.

3. Work Permit

The employment authorization document (EAD) does not currently indicate that it was granted as a result of DACA. Therefore, an EAD should be valid until its expiration date.

If the DACA program ends but you are allowed to keep your work permit, you have the right to work legally until your work permit’s expiration date.

Your employer does not have the right to ask you whether you are a DACA recipient or how you got your work permit.

Your employer does not have the right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until after your work permit has expired. If your expiration date is nearing, your employer may ask you for an updated work permit but cannot take any action against you until after it is expired.

Please contact the Los Angeles County Office of Immigrant Affairs if you believe that your employer has discriminated or retaliated against you due to your immigration status.

4. Social Security Number (SSN)

If you have not applied for a social security number, you should do so immediately while your DACA and work permit are still valid. You may continue to use your SSN obtained under DACA for educational, banking, and housing purposes, even if DACA expires or is revoked. Your SSN cannot be used for employment purposes without a valid work permit.

5. Driver’s License and State ID

California Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60) allows you to apply for a California Driver’s License, even if your DACA expires or is revoked. The California Department of Motor Vehicles will grant you a Driver’s License if you meet their requirements regardless of your immigration status. Visit the DMV website for details on how to obtain a Driver’s License under AB 60: dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/ab60.

6. Travel on Advance Parole

Advance parole is a permit to allow someone who does not have a valid immigrant visa to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.  If you are currently traveling out of the country on advance parole, consider returning to the United States immediately. If you have already been granted advance parole and have not left United States, or if you are currently considering applying for advance parole, consult with an attorney about the risk of being denied re-entry to the United States before you travel abroad.

7. Medical Coverage

Currently, there are no changes to the Medi-Cal program for DACA recipients.  DACA recipients will continue to receive full-scope, state-funded Medi-Cal as long as they otherwise meet all Medi-Cal eligibility requirement.

8. Student Financial Aid

If you are receiving state-funded financial aid while attending California colleges, you will not lose your financial aid. Stated-funded financial aid was made available to DACA recipients based on the California Dream Act. Regardless of DACA status, the California Dream Act will remain intact. The California Student Aid Commission will not share your personal information with the federal government or immigration enforcement agencies.

WHO WAS ELIGIBLE FOR DACA?

DACA was available to individuals who:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of applying for DACA;
  • Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
  • For more details on eligibility requirements visit the USCIS’s Frequently Asked Questions page or consult with an attorney.

 HOW DO I APPLY FOR OR RENEW DACA?

After September 5, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will not accept new DACA applications.  If you are a DACA recipient and your benefits expire before March 5, 2018, the USCIS will accept renewal applications, but only until October 5, 2017.

If you choose to renew, here is what you need to do:

  • Collect documents (e.g., school records, medical records, financial records, employment records, military records) as evidence that you meet the requirements.
  • Visit the S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) website to download and print the forms for deferred action and work authorization.
  • Complete and mail the completed forms to USCIS with the necessary fees. Current fees are listed on this Fee Exemption Guidance for DACA. Your application must be received by USCIS by October 5, 2017.  Applications that are postmarked but not received by October 5, 2017 will be rejected.
  • Visit your local USCIS Application Support Center for a scheduled biometrics services appointment. Find your local office with the USCIS Office Locator.
  • Check the status of your request online at USCIS’s website.

LEGAL REPRESENTATION, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, OTHER RESOURCES

 1.L.A. Justice Fund:

The L.A. Justice Fund is a partnership among Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, and the philanthropic community and was created to provide legal representation to Los Angeles County residents who cannot afford an attorney and who are facing imminent deportation. In September 2017, we will announce the legal aid agencies receiving L.A. Justice Fund grants to represent immigrants on our OIA website an LA Justice Resource Directory.

In the meantime, and in the event you don’t qualify for L.A. Justice Fund representation, you should contact the agencies on this list of pro-bono legal service providers for free or low-cost immigration advice.

2.Know Your Rights

Everyone, documented or undocumented, is entitled to certain rights in the United States:

  • RIGHT TO NOT OPEN YOUR DOOR, unless the immigration agent has a warrant to enter that is signed by a judge or magistrate and has your name on it.
  • RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT and not answer questions from immigration agents.
  • RIGHT NOT TO SIGN ANY PAPERS without first talking to an attorney.
  • RIGHT TO TALK TO AN ATTORNEY at your own expense.

The Office of Immigrant Affairs prepared a Know Your Rights Pocket Card, which includes a “Red Card” that you may give to immigration agents. Print and keep this Pocket Card handy: oia.lacounty.gov.

3.Other Resources and Information

The Los Angeles County departments listed below may have additional helpful information.

Alternate Public Defender: 

  • Information regarding reduction, dismissal or expungement of previous criminal convictions (post-conviction review)

Child Support Services: 

  • Copy of your child support payment records

Children and Family Services: 

  • Copy of your file if you were under their care 

Consumer and Business Affairs: 

  • Assistance with immigration fraud complaints
  • Records of consumer complaints you filed with the department

Domestic Violence Council: 

  • Copy of your case records
  • Assistance and resources for victims of domestic violence

Office of Education:

  • School enrollment and attendance records
  • Verification of graduation

Health Services: 

  • Copy of your medical records
  • Letter to verify your visits to its facilities
  • Birth records

Mental Health: 

  • Copy of your mental health records
  • Letter to verify your visits to its mental health clinics

 Military and Veterans Affairs: 

  • Copy of your military records

 Public Defender: 

  • Information regarding reduction, dismissal or expungement of previous criminal convictions (post-conviction review)

Public Health: 

  • Copy of your medical records
  • Copy of Immunization records

Public Library:

  • Verification of library visits record at no cost

Public Social Services:

  • Copy of your case records and information about DPSS programs that DACA recipients may qualify for

Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk:

  • Marriage license
  • Birth certificate

Treasurer and Tax Collector:

  • Property tax payment records

Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services:

  • Records of your visits or participation at County community centers

AVOID IMMIGRATION FRAUD:

Dishonest immigration consultants often defraud consumers by charging fees for illegal or misleading services including giving legal advice, claiming to have inside “connections” or saying they know special laws. Consumers who deal with these people often lose their money and can hurt their chances to adjust their immigration status. Immigration consultants may include: “notarios”, paralegals or anyone offering immigration-related services. No matter what they call themselves, immigration consultants must follow the law.

Learn how to prevent, report, and resolve immigration fraud here.

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