By: Kevin Liu, DACA Legal Advocate
With a new administration taking office in January 2017, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is putting the safety and security of immigrant families before all else. While we continue to offer services in many of the same areas of immigration, the Immigration Project at Advancing Justice-LA will be transitioning away from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) services and moving towards providing immigration information sessions and know your rights presentations, as well as free legal immigration screenings for those who wish to know if they qualify for other forms of current immigration relief.
According to Trump’s 100 day plan, the administration plans to revoke all of President Obama’s executive orders by day one (January 20, 2017), including the DACA program. Here’s what you should know.
Initial DACA Applications
Given the uncertainty of the DACA program’s future, Advancing Justice-LA has halted legal assistance for clients with initial DACA applications. Initial applications take about 6 months for processing. That is not enough time for a new DACA applicant to have their case approved before the President-elect takes office. On top of the time constraint, initial DACA applicants also risk losing the $465 filing fee if the DACA program is terminated even if the application is not fully processed.
Renewing Employment Authorization Under DACA
Those who choose to renew their employment authorization under the DACA program are still able to receive application assistance from Advancing Justice-LA with the understanding that the applicant may lose their filing fee if program is terminated under the new administration. Current processing times for renewal applications are approximately 3-6 months.
Under the incoming administration, it is unclear:
- Whether or not currently valid employment authorization (work permit) cards will be confiscated if the DACA program is canceled, or remain valid until their given expiration dates
- Whether those who currently have DACA will be allowed to renew their employment authorization in the future
Know Your Rights
During this uncertain political climate, it is very important to know your constitutional rights and make a plan for extenuating circumstances. Many community organizations, including Advancing Justice-LA, are giving out Know Your Rights cards that provide instructions on how to interact with law enforcement and exercise your rights.
How to prepare:
Make a safety plan and make copies of important documents in case of an emergency. Important documents include:
- identification cards,
- birth certificates,
- any paperwork filed with USCIS.
- Memorize phone numbers of friends and family members as well as an immigration attorney in case you are apprehended by Immigration Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.).
If you want to know if you qualify for any other form of current immigration relief, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free immigration relief eligibility screening.
In the meantime, it is essential that people are armed with the knowledge of their rights, and understand that we are also here to help. Please also see our list of Immigration Resources for more handouts and useful information.
For questions and further information, to schedule an appointment for a free immigration screening, or other immigration services, please email us at [email protected] or call one of our toll-free in-language hotlines: