When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) on September 5th of this year, he gave current DACA recipients one month to renew their last 2-year work permits. Tomorrow is October 5th, the deadline for renewal, and as of today, 112,000 of the 154,000 recipients have filed for renewal.
Immediately after the decision was released and the deadline was created, immigration lawyers rushed to help DACA recipients refile their paperwork. Fundraisers were held in order to raise the $495 fee for those who could not afford it. Activists called for deadline extensions in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, for those having trouble gathering the paperwork or the money, but the government did not comply. However, case-by-case extensions may be granted for those in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Many immigration groups are trying to find the remaining 42,000 DACA recipients who have yet to refile, but are having difficulty doing so. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has once again asked the administration to extend the deadline in order to get as many people signed up as possible.
These renewals give recipients another 2-year work permit, but this is actually dependent on whether or not lawmakers can come up with an agreement on immigration reform by March 5, 2018. If at this point, an agreement is not reached, DACA recipients will begin to lose their work permits, placing them at risk of deportation.
Immigrants and activists have called for a “clean” Dream Act, one that does not place them in the center of political bargaining, and give them a path to citizenship.
Our Verdict: DACA recipients are being used as a bargaining chip in the battle of immigration reform. These people are humans and do not deserve to be used for the political policy push of either Republicans or Democrats. We hope that the Trump administration grants an extension in order to get as many people to renew their permits, and that lawmakers begin to do better for Dreamers.