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The Slow and Painful Death of DACA: What You Need to Know and Do Now

Written by Carmen Cornejo

October 5 was the dreaded dateline for the last DACA renewals being accepted at USCIS after President Trump cruelly decided to end the program. DACA gave a good opportunity for DREAMers to live a quasi-normal life in the U.S., protecting undocumented youth from deportation and giving them a work permit. This program allowed them to provide for themselves and their families… and to thrive, as is well documented by studies.

Now DACA will start phasing out on March 6, when people who were not included in the renewal period will see their work permits expire.

Here are the most important things you should know about the phase-out period:

  • Your work permit is valid until the expiration date on the EAD (Employment Authorization Document), and you have the unrestricted right to work in the U.S.
  • Your employer cannot deny you a job while the EAD is still valid and has no right to ask if you have DACA or if you are affected by the end of the program.
  • Your employer should not dismiss you or modify the conditions of your job until your EAD expires.
  • Your Social Security number is yours to keep, but it will not allow you to work legally past the expiration date on your EAD. You can continue to use the SSN for activities such as banking or education.
  • In Arizona, your driver’s license will expire by the end date of your EAD.
  • In-state tuition is still available for DACA recipients in Arizona in spite of the legal challenges. The benefit will end with the expiration of your EAD. Register for classes as long as you can!
  • USCIS is not granting Advance Parole to DACA recipients anymore. Most lawyers do not recommend exiting the country even if you have a previously approved AP.
  • Now is the time to work on a DREAM Act or similar legislation. Organize friends, family, and supporters to call congresspeople in Washington. Ask them to support good legislation that provides a path to legalization for undocumented youth. Organize, organize, organize. 
  • Stay in touch with the main organizing groups like United We DREAM and your local groups such as The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, Puente, Center for Neighborhood Leadership, Aliento and Undocumented Students for Education Equity at ASU to push for good legislation and report any possible detention of immigrant youth.
  • If you are arrested, contact an experienced immigration lawyer. Always have the number of a competent attorney at hand.