What Does the DAPA Rescission Mean and What Implications Does It Have for DACA?
THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Ignacia Rodriguez, NILC immigration policy advocate
June 23, 2017
On June 15, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly signed a memo rescinding the Obama administration’s November 2014 memorandum that announced a deferred action program for parents of citizens and lawful permanent residents (DAPA), as well as expansions of DACA. The DACA expansion would have covered more people who came to the U.S. as children and provided all DACA recipients protection from deportation and work permits for three years instead of the current two.
So what does the rescission of the DAPA memo mean for DAPA and the expansion of DACA?
- DAPA, a program never implemented due to a court order, will never be implemented unless a new memorandum re-announcing the program is issued and that’s impractical to expect from this administration.
- The rescission of the memo also ends the expansions of DACA, which would have greatly improved the lives of those previously excluded from the 2012 DACA program due to the age requirement and/or the continuous presence in the U.S. since 2007 requirement.
- DHS emphasized that people who have secured three-year work permits (obtained between November 2014 and February 2015) don’t have to return their work permits and can thus wait to renew their DACA and work permits until closer to the expirations dates. Some have interpreted that to mean that DACA will still be available until at least February 2018 because if you received your three-year work permit in February 2015 it expires in February 2018. However, as we’ve learned over the last six months, nothing is certain with this administration, and things could change at any time.
- In terminating DAPA, the Trump administration intends to end the Texas v. U.S. However, they have asked for an extension until June 29 to file their status report. It is to be determined if the court will grant an extension or what would happen after that, but the case continues until the judge orders otherwise.
What does the rescission of the DAPA memo mean for the 2012 DACA program?
- By the morning of June 16, rumors were circulating in the media that the memo and accompanying materials signaled that DACA was safe indefinitely. However, these were only rumors. The memo and related materials only state that the decision does NOT affect DACA and that people can continue to apply and renew their DACA. There was no affirmative promise by the administration to keep DACA indefinitely. The White House quickly clarified that the president has not made a final determination about whether to continue or discontinue DACA in the future. TheNew York Times subsequently republished its original article on the topic, clarifying that the DACA program is still under review.
- June 15 also marked the fifthanniversary of the DACA announcement. Some people wondered why DHS chose June 15 to make a decision on DAPA. Was it to remind us of the vulnerability of DACA? Was it to minimize our celebration of this victory? Or was it just that they had a court deadline of June 15 and inadvertently made the decision on the same day as the DACA anniversary? Given the court deadline, we can’t read too much into why they chose this date to make a decision.
We will continue to monitor and report on developments going forward, especially because it’s not at all clear what the future holds for DACA. Even with the 2012 DACA memorandum in place, we’ve seen the Trump administration targeting DACA recipients, such as Daniel Ramirez, Juan Manuel Montes, Dany Vargas, and others, and the hateful rhetoric spewed by government officials has emboldened some immigration agents to arbitrarily target immigrant communities, including peoplewith DACA.
We also will be keeping an eye on the processing of DACA applications. The high number of DACA approvals since January (over 107,000 renewal approvals and 17,000 initial approvals), were surprising, and some assumed they all happened under the Trump administration. However, these numbers don’t really signal how the current administration will treat DACA cases going forward, given that those statistics captured a period that overlapped with President Obama’s last few weeks in office. The high number could have resulted from DACA renewal applicants applying early out of concern that Trump would end DACA immediately upon entering office, or it could be part of the cyclical nature of DACA renewals. It also may have been a combination of both. We’ll have a better sense of the Trump administration’s processing of DACA applications when the next set of USCIS data (covering April through June) is released.
In the meantime, please refer back regularly to our Frequently Asked Questions page for the most up to date information and recommendations for applicants and DACA recipients.