Status of Dreamers still uncertain

On behalf of Cynthia Ceballos of Ceballos Legal Consulting LLC posted in Immigration & Naturalization on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

The biggest hope for many immigrants is that their children will be able to live a better life in a new country. In recent weeks, the President and Congress have focused policy on children who arrived in the country with their parents in an uncertain status. What does the future hold for these young people known as Dreamers?

Deal or no deal?

Although the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is set to expire, there are a couple of ways it could continue. Supporters of DACA are using both legislation and lawsuits in an attempt to preserve the law. 

Democratic leaders in Congress claimed a deal was in place to extend DACA, but President Trump has not been clear in his support for the proposed policy. In the courts, six people protected by DACA filed to challenge its expiration, according to Reuters. With the status of the law uncertain, is there anything Dreamers can do now to protect themselves?

DACA filing deadline is Oct. 5

Young immigrants have until Oct. 5 to renew their legal protections under DACA. The filing cost is $495, but some charity groups are working to pay for the application fees.

Dreamers interested in extending their legal status should seek help from an immigration attorney in this process. There is much urgency to extend these protections, but is DACA the only option available to young immigrants?

Other options available

Although DACA may be the first choice that comes to mind for many people, numerous paths are available to achieving legally protected status within the United States. Residency programs are available through:

  • Political asylum
  • Domestic abuse protection
  • Family needs
  • Job qualifications

Further, prosecutors still have discretion in the appeals process. For example, immigrants who are considered a "low priority" for deportation could have their cases canceled by a court, allowing a young person to stay in the country until they can make another appeal.

With the status of Dreamers unclear, feelings of uncertainty and fear are valid among young immigrants today. However, these feelings can inspire proactive steps in exploring the full range of protections potentially available.