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Immigration law update: DACA discontinued

Beginning in 2012, hundreds of thousands of children born to immigrants residing in the United States without proper documentation (including perhaps many here in New Orleans) received a reprieve from potential deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed those children to remain in the country to work or attend school for a period of two years. At the expiration of that time, they could reapply for another two years. It is important for those relying on this particular immigration law to know that it has been discontinued.

The current administration claims that since this program was initiated in accordance with an Executive Order instead of a law passed by Congress, that it was not supportable by law. Fortunately, the implementation of the ban does not begin until March 5, 2018. Congress has until that time to pass legislation making it legal for those who fell under DACA to remain in the country. Much speculation surrounds whether Congress will get the job done.

In the meantime, no new applications for the program will be accepted. Those with existing protection will not be allowed to reapply when their deadline is reached. As for the pending applications and requests for renewal, each will be processed on a case-by-case basis.

This makes any pending applications for new or renewed protection crucial. It may be advantageous for anyone who submitted such an application here in New Orleans to consult with an immigration law attorney. Doing so could help improve the chances of the application being approved. Any mistakes made at this juncture could mean significant changes. In addition, immigration attorneys across the country will be watching Congress to see whether legislation is passed to protect the children of undocumented immigrants going forward.

Source: CNBC, "Trump administration ending DACA program, which protected 800,000 children of immigrants", Jacob Pramuk, Sept. 5, 2017

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