President of Nation of Immigrants Sticks it to Nearly 800,000 Immigrants that Entered the U.S. as Children, but Gives Congress Six Months to Make Legislative Fix

Dreamers once again face an uncertain future.  This time around, their anxiety and uncertainty comes as a result of President Trump’s September 5, 2017 decision to scrap the DACA program established in 2012 by President Barack Obama.  Under DACA, children who were brought to the U.S. without legal authorization were able to apply for deferred action for two years, which gave them the temporary right to live, study and work in the U.S. without deportation.  All of the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, or “Dreamers,” as they are also known, were vetted for criminal history, threats to national security and had to have been a student or completed school or military service to receive deferred action status. 

Trump’s decision to end the program will be delayed by six months which gives Congress time to find a legislative alternative.  It is worth noting that Congress has been debating what to do about Dreamers since before 2001, when the first proposal known as the DREAM Act was introduced.

What does Trump’s decision mean for Dreamers?

  1. Dreamers are allowed to keep their work permits and have the right to work legally until the work permit’s expiration date.
  2. The administration has stated that they will continue to process properly filed pending DACA applications and the associated applications for work permits.
  3. No new DACA applications will be received effective September 5, 2017.
  4. Dreamers who have DACA status that expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 must submit renewal applications for DACA and work permits prior to October 5, 2017 for the renewal to be processed.
  5. Dreamers do not have an obligation to inform their employer that DACA has ended.
  6. Employers do not have the right to ask individuals how they obtained their work permit, whether through DACA or other means.
  7. Employers DO NOT have the right to fire Dreamers, put them on leave, re-verify their employment eligibility, or change their work status until after their work permit has expired.
  8. Social Security Numbers remain valid numbers for Dreamers, even if their work permits and DACA approvals expire.
  9. Eligibility for state driver’s licenses and state identification cards depends on the state in which individuals live.  In California, Dreamers can continue to seek and obtain driver’s licenses, even if their work permits expire. 
  10. Dreamers should not travel abroad and should return to the U.S. as soon as possible.
  11. Dreamers should consult with immigration attorneys to determine if they are eligible to obtain work permits or green cards using other immigration programs.
  12. Dreamers and immigrants should review Know Your Rights materials and be prepared for potential immigration raids.

The Attorney Generals for the States of Washington and New York have said that their states will sue to defend DACA. 

Union leaders and advocates are strongly encouraged to contact their Congressional representatives as soon as possible and demand that they act quickly to provide relief for Dreamers.  As the policies of the Trump administration continue to unfold, WRR is committed to providing legal updates and tools for labor leaders, workers and their families.

By Conchita Lozano-Batista | September 5, 2017

Legal Developments