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What do the changes to the DACA law mean for immigrant Dreamers?

As many people in Florida are aware, President Donald J. Trump recently rescinded the DACA law and outlined the phase out of the program over the next six months in another change to U.S. Immigration Law. In the meantime, Congress could pass laws on this issue. However, until that happens the phase out will take place. There are many so-called "Dreamers" in Florida who may be affected by this phase out and many want to know how they will be affected immediately.

DACA protected children under age 31 of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents before they were 16-years-old. These children were allowed to stay in the United States under DACA, provided that they were in school or graduated from high school, obtained a GED or served in the military, had not left the United States since 2007 and had not been convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors.

However, now during the phase out period the Department of Homeland Security will reject all new DACA requests after September 5, 2017. They will still process pending DACA filings and make determinations on a case-by-case basis. They will also continue to process pending renewal requests of current beneficiaries if their benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, which have been accepted by October 5, 2017. They will also not revoke any previously granted beneficiaries solely because of the new directive, but still can terminate any deferred action at any time for any reason without notice.

This new directive has caused concern for many beneficiaries of DACA in Florida. Currently there is a temporary phase out period. Based on the information provided by the Department of Homeland Security those who are currently beneficiaries may not experience many changes for six months, but beyond that there is even more uncertainty unless Congress enacts legislation in the meantime. This is a very confusing time for many immigrants and experienced attorneys may be a useful resource.

Source: Department of Homeland Security, "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)" accessed Sept. 11, 2017

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