AALDEF marks three-year anniversary of launch of DACA

Friday, Aug 14, 2015

August 15 is the third anniversary of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA continues to transform the lives of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and qualify for protection from deportation and employment authorization.

To mark the occasion, Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), said: "As a national civil rights organization that advocates for fair immigration policies, we support the president's immigration initiatives, including DACA and the expansion of deferred action announced last November. These programs could provide relief from deportation to hundreds of thousands of undocumented Asian immigrants in this country. In the absence of a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration laws, AALDEF encourages individuals who qualify for deportation relief under DACA to apply for such relief.

AALDEF has provided legal assistance to Asian immigrant youth who may be eligible for DACA and plans to represent individuals who would have qualified under an expansion of the original DACA program and the creation of a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the U.S. for at least five years (known as DAPA) (see FAQs on DAPA and Expanded DACA)

According to a new analysis by the Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy (see MPI brief), 355,805, or 83 percent, of the 430,396 DACA recipients eligible to renew their benefits had done so as of March 31, 2015. Last November, the Obama administration announced the expansion of DACA and the creation of DAPA, for which implementation was scheduled to begin on February 18, 2015 and May 19, 2015, respectively. Since February 16, 2015, implementation of the expansion of DACA and DAPA has been blocked by a federal district court. This case is currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which could announce any day whether the lower court's hold on the DAPA and expanded DACA initiatives will be lifted.

While the lawsuit temporarily blocks the rollout of DAPA and expanded DACA and the protection from deportation for many more individuals who would benefit from these initiatives, the court's decision does not affect the current DACA program, announced in June 2012, for which those who are eligible under the existing guidelines can continue to file initial or renewal requests (see DACA Fact Sheet).

NOTE: Individuals who believe they may qualify for the new DAPA and expanded DACA initiatives should start obtaining documents in anticipation of the eventual lifting of the hold on these programs and should be wary of individuals who seek to charge fees by claiming that they can help file DAPA or expanded DACA cases now.

For more information, contact:
Annie Wang, Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x213
awang@aaldef.org

Stanley Mark, Senior Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x204
smark@aaldef.org