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King Hall supports DACA and stands with Dreamers

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Sep 7, 2017

Like many others, I am deeply disappointed with the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, better known as DACA.  By doing so, the administration has turned its back on hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth who grew up in this country and form an integral part of our campus community as well as American society.  Although DACA did not provide an enduring path to citizenship to its recipients, it protected many undocumented youth from deportation and provided them an opportunity to work lawfully, study, and pursue their dreams.  Rescinding the program undermines those dreams and is inconsistent with fundamental notions of equal justice under law.

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments about the decision to rescind DACA expressed by University of California President Janet Napolitano, University of California Board of Regents, and UC Davis Chancellor Gary May. Let me emphasize that the UC Davis School of Law remains steadfast in its support for all students, regardless of their immigration status.

Although many in our King Hall community are disappointed by the decision to end DACA, I am heartened by expressions of hope about the prospects for something positive coming out of this setback.  There will likely be an urgent need for lawyers to help persons in need during this critical time.  I encourage all of us to step up and do our part.  I applaud the effort of our Immigration Law Clinic and the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center for already stepping up to the challenge.

As I described in a commentary published yesterday in the Daily Journal , the decision to “wind down” DACA allows Congress a window of time to enact legislation to address the nation’s immigration issues, perhaps even with a path to legalization for the millions of undocumented immigrants who live and work in, and are part of, our communities.  We all should participate in advocating change -- and bring justice -- to our immigration laws.

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What is DACA?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) was initially implemented in 2012 by executive order of the Obama administration.  To be eligible an individual must meet various requirements, including entering the US before age sixteen, never committing serious crimes, and paying taxes.  DACA recipients receive employment authorization, and temporary protection from deportation.  The DACA program requires individuals to renew their application every two years.  Today there are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients in the US.

On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will be rescinding DACA.  Although the program will continue to confer benefits to those who already received DACA, the program will expire on March 5, 2018.

What Rescission Means

Under the “wind down” process of DACA, current recipients will be allowed to retain deferred action and employment authorization until they expire, unless terminated or revoked.

DACA benefits will be phased out over the upcoming months.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be adjudicating properly filed DACA and associated employment authorization requests on a case-by-case basis, including:

  • Initial DACA requests and employment authorizations that have been accepted as of September 5, 2017.
  • Pending DACA renewal requests and associated employment authorizations that have been accepted as of September 5, 2017.
  • Renewal DACA request and employment authorizations whose benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 and have been accepted as of October 5, 2017.

USCIS will not accept all initial DACA and associated employment authorization requests that are filed after September 5, 2017.  DACA recipients will lose all benefits associated with the program once the two year expiration date ends.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center.  Please email the Center at ucimm@law.ucdavis.edu.   The Center has released this response  to the rescission of DACA.