Image courtesy of Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition Facebook.
Ready California, a statewide collaborative working to empower immigrant communities through access to information and legal services, denounced the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, created by President Obama through an executive order in 2012, has shielded nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation while authorizing them to work legally.
The end of DACA means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will immediately stop accepting initial applications for DACA and will discontinue renewing DACA applications as of March 5, 2018.
However, DACA recipients’ work permits will continue to be valid until their expiration date. Employers do not have the right to fire DACA recipients unless their work permits have expired.
“This misguided and harmful step puts these members of our communities – our friends, neighbors, students, and co-workers – at risk once again of being torn from their families and the only home they may remember,” said Sally Kinoshita, deputy director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which leads Ready California. “Instead of continuing to support their families and contribute to their communities, these young people will now be vulnerable to an irresponsible and inhumane detention and deportation machine that tears families and communities apart.”
Ready California is advising DACA recipients to take steps to protect themselves:
- Consult with an experienced immigration attorney or accredited representative to understand your legal options and if you might be eligible for an immigration benefit.
- Find low-cost immigration legal services: https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org.
- Avoid fraudulent service providers: confirm their credentials, ask for a written contract and a receipt for any payments, and if you have doubts, get a second opinion. For more information https://www.ilrc.org/anti-fraud-flyers
- Avoid negative contact with law enforcement. Any arrest, charge, or conviction, especially DUI or conduct related to drugs can have negative immigration consequences. Contact with law enforcement can result in exposure to the immigration authorities.
- If you have a criminal record, consult an expert. Certain convictions can be changed to lessen the impact on a future immigration case.
- If you are outside the country with advance parole, make sure to return while your parole document and work permit are valid.
For more information about Ready California, visit www.ready-california.org.