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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update


  1. DACA is Ending What You Should Do Now

    On September 5, the Trump Administration announced that DACA which has shielded over 800,000 young people who were brought to the US as children from deportation for the past 5 years was coming to an end.

    The USCIS will no longer accept new applications for DACA or for advance parole travel permits.

    However, for a brief period of time which ends on October 5, 2017, current DACA recipients whose DACA status expires prior to March 5, 2018 may apply to renew their status and EADs for another 2 years. If you fit into this category, be sure to apply for a DACA and EAD renewal immediately.

    Although USCIS will not accept new applications for advance parole from DACA recipients and will return all pending applications for advance parole, if you already have an advance parole through DACA that you have not used and you last entered the US without inspection, you may want to travel abroad and return to the US with your advance parole document. This may allow you to adjust your status in the US in the future. Please see DACA Renewals – Plus DACA To Green Card!.

    In addition, there are a variety of other immigration benefits that you may be eligible for. These are detailed in Screening Potential DACA Requestors for Other Forms of Relief published by the American Immigration Council.

    We link to the various government memos regarding the termination of the program from End of DACA Program – Frequently Asked Questions.

    Will Congress pass a bill to provide DREAMers with a path to US citizenship, or at least to protect them from deportation after March 5, 2018?

    That’s anyone’s guess.

    The DREAM Act was first introduced back in 2001, and has never been passed by Congress. Whether Congress will act to protect the DREAMers in 2017-18 remains to be seen.

    There are currently 4 bills in Congress to help the Dreamers. There has been much speculation as to whether the Democrats and President Trump can make a deal to help the Dreamers the way they did recently on the short term hike in the debt ceiling.

    Several states are suing the Administration over the DACA termination. So is the University of California.

    Religious leaders from many faiths have condemned President Trump's decision to phase out DACA. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has threatened to shut down the government if the House of Representatives fails to pass the DREAM Act.

    Some commentators had concluded that there is a racial basis for ending DACA and attempting to restrict immigration to the US.

    I watched Steve Bannon on "60 Minutes" last night. He stated that he was all in favor of ending DACA and that the answer to the problem is for the Dreamers to "self-deport". Outrageous!

    If you are also upset about how the 800,000 young DACA recipients are being treated, this is the time for you to act. Take a few minutes and let the White House and your Members of Congress know that it is important to you that they protect the Dreamers.

    With DACA ending, it is important that we Act Now For Dreamers.

    Updated 09-12-2017 at 12:33 PM by CShusterman

  2. Obama Administration Steps Up For DREAMers
    Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that, effective immediately, certain individuals who were brought to the United States as children and meet specific criteria will be considered for relief from being put in deportation proceedings or removed from the country. Let us be clear, this is NOT amnesty and acts as more of a band-aid on a contentious and sensitive issue that can only truly be remedied by comprehensive immigration reform.

    DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, writes "This memorandum confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights. It remains for the executive branch, however, to set forth policy for the exercise of discretion within the framework of the existing law."

    So what does this mean for the undocumented immigrant community? This newly-announced policy will act to prevent the deportation or initiation of removal proceedings against certain young people who were brought to this country as children, and who have completed at least high school or obtained a GED certificate.

    Today's policy announcement does not grant any kind of status to eligible individuals. Eligible individuals will be granted "deferred action" which is a temporary reprieve from deportation. Those granted deferred action may then apply for employment authorization from the USCIS.

    The new policy establishes certain criteria for deferred action:

    1. The individual must have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
    2. He/she must have continually resided in the U.S. for at least five years preceding the date of the memorandum (6-15-12) and must be present in the U.S. on the date of the memo;
    3. She/he must currently be in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a general education (GED) certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
    4. The individual cannot have been convicted of a felony offense, significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
    5. The individual must not be above the age of 30.

    Today's announcement is essentially the next step following earlier DHS announcements regarding prosecutorial discretion. In August of 2011, DHS published a memo in which the agency would review deportation cases and grant prosecutorial discretion to "low priority" cases. Since that policy took effect, however, only about two percent of pending removal cases have actually been granted prosecutorial discretion. And those who have received prosecutorial discretion do not necessarily qualify for employment authorization. So for many, while they may remain in the U.S., they cannot earn a living.

    Today's policy announcement targets a more specific group of individuals, commonly known as "DREAMERs." These are individuals who would benefit from the DREAM Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation which would provide a path to legal status for those who were brought to the United States as children and educated in our nation's schools. Although the DREAM Act initially enjoyed bi-partisan support, the contentious climate in Congress has prevented its passage.

    Predictably, several prominent Republicans have already come out against this policy change, including Senator Lindsay Graham who criticized the decision because it "avoids dealing with Congress." Similarly, Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said, "President Obama's decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants is a breach of faith with the American people" (Apparently, he missed the memo). Such statements grossly mischaracterize the nature of the DHS prosecutorial discretion policy, and mislead the general public.

    The new policy recognizes some important facts in a couple of ways. Firstly, DHS can deport about 400,000 individuals per year. Given that there are around 12,000,000 undocumented individuals in the United States, it makes sense to prioritize who gets to stay and who must go.

    Secondly, the individuals who are being considered for this discretion are not individuals who intentionally broke the law or had any control over their situation. These 800,000 individuals were brought to this country by their families as minors; for many this is the only country they have ever known. They graduated from school, many at the top of their class. They have been productive members of our society.

    Let's get real; these individuals are de facto Americans, and kudos to the Obama administration for adopting a policy that will not target such individuals for deportation and will allow them to obtain work permits.

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    Updated 12-02-2013 at 05:58 PM by CShusterman

  3. Keep the DREAM Alive Congress may vote on the DREAM Act as early as this week. Unless the DREAM Act passes in lame duck session, it is unlikely that the new conservative Congress will pass this important piece of legislation into law during the next two years.

    All around the country, something incredible is happening. Student leaders across the U.S. are coming out and declaring that they are present in the U.S. without papers. This, of course, could lead to their being arrested and deported, and yet, they continue to do so in ever greater numbers.

    Consider David Cho, a 21-year-old senior at my alma mater UCLA. David, who plays 7 musical instruments and conducts the 250-member UCLA marching band, did not even know that he was in the U.S. ilegally until he was accepted at UCLA. That was when his father first told him that he was a citizen of South Korea and that the family was undocumented.

    Because of his status, David cannot get student loans or scholarships or even a drivers license. He sleeps on friends couchs or at the UCLA Library. He works 30 hours per week tutoring other students for cash.

    Nevertheless, he has a double major in international economics and Korean and maintains a GPA of 3.6.

    David is far from unique. The undocumented students at UCLA have told me their stories. They have formed an organization and they share a number of important characteristics. They are excellent students. They major in science, business, pre-law and pre-medicine. They were brought to the U.S. by their parents as children, and frequently did not learn about their undoucumented status until they were accepted at UCLA.

    Unless Congress passes the DREAM Act, they will not be able to continue their education or to get jobs in the U.S.

    They are a valuable resource whose talents are being wasted.

    The DREAM Act has garnered wide bipartisan support in the past. It is time for Congress to act in the interests of our country and these students, and pass the DREAM Act now.

    Subscribe to our free, monthly e-mail newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

    Updated 12-02-2013 at 04:25 PM by CShusterman

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