LOS ANGELES — United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Sept. 5 the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program effective March 5, 2018. In response, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles and other organizations spoke out to explain what the termination means — what was announced, what those eligible for renewal can and should do, other options for current DACA recipient and state and federal legislative responses. Advancing Justice-LA will provide free legal assistance for current DACA recipients, including those seeking renewal.
“In the five years since the creation of DACA, Advancing Justice-LA has helped thousands of young immigrants secure DACA status and emerge from the shadows,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-LA. “It has been a true lifeline for these young people — most of whom know no other country — allowing them to work above ground and contribute fully to their families, communities and economy. Now, with the end of DACA looming ahead, we are committed to helping as many as possible and fighting for their place in our democracy.”
Since its creation in 2012, DACA has transformed the lives of nearly 800,000 young people by providing temporary relief from deportation and work authorization. California is home to more than 200,000 “DACAmented” immigrants, with the largest group living in the Southern California region. Among the DACA recipients affected by the termination are many Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants.
Between 2012 and 2017, more than 16,000 Asian immigrants received protection under DACA.
Important points included in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s memorandum rescinding DACA include:
- No new DACA applications will be accepted as of Sept. 5
- Current DACA recipients will continue to have their deferred status and work authorization until they expire.
- Current DACA recipients whose work authorization expires between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018 can renew their work permits, but must submit their renewal applications before Oct. 5.
- No new applications of “advance parole” will be approved, allowing DACA recipients to travel outside of the U.S., and current holders of advance parole are not guaranteed admittance to the U.S.
“While Advancing Justice-LA will fight to keep DACA and pass the DREAM Act, we also urge all eligible DACA recipients to file for renewal,” said Aman Thind, immigration project director for Advancing Justice-LA.
Currently, Advancing Justice-LA’s staff is offering free renewal assistance to eligible DACA recipients. Renewal clinics are being offered throughout the month every Thursday at its downtown office.
“We call on Congress to immediately pass clean legislation that does not exploit immigrant youth as a bargaining chip for harsh enforcement measures, but instead respects the inherent dignity and humanity of all immigrants with a real path to citizenship for immigrant youth and their families,” said Betty Hung, policy director of Advancing Justice-LA.