Law360, New York (May 17, 2017) By Allissa Wickham
— President Donald Trump hasn’t ended a deportation protection program for young immigrants, but recent incidents in which so-called Dreamers were detained or deported have added a fresh element of uncertainty to the situation.
During the campaign, Trump promised to end President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows immigrants who entered the country without authorization as children to apply for deferred deportation and receive work permits.
But that promise hasn’t come to pass, as the program remains intact, and Trump has indicated he’s not interested in discontinuing it. During an April interview with The Associated Press, for instance, Trump agreed that his administration’s policy would be to allow the young, unauthorized immigrants known as Dreamers to stay, saying, “The dreamers should rest easy.”
However, despite Trump’s new stance, there have been a number of high-profile incidents in which Dreamers were targeted for immigration enforcement, although these incidents don’t appear to be indicative of a nationwide effort against people with valid DACA status.
In February, for example, 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez was deported even though his DACA didn’t expire until 2018. The government claimed in April that Montes lost DACA status when, at one point, he left the country without what’s known as “advance parole.” And then there’s the case of Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old Dreamer who was arrested after leaving a press conference, and later released.
With the mixed signals the Trump administration is sending out regarding to Dreamers, here’s what attorneys are telling DACA clients about how to proceed.
Present Clients With the Risks
Several attorneys said they’re advising clients on the risks of applying for DACA, since benefits like work permission may need to be weighed against the potential danger of revealing yourself to the government.
“I’m giving people the pros and cons, and letting them decide,” said Jarred Slater of Quan Law Group. “The obvious benefit of DACA is the employment authorization, Social Security number and then [a] driver’s license.”
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