The media has reported speculation that in the coming days President Trump will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative.
There are different ways the Trump administration could end DACA, if they choose to do so:
- Allow DACA to “sunset,” meaning that those who already have DACA and a work permit would be protected from deportation and permitted to work until it expires.
- A more problematic option would be to end DACA immediately. This option would invalidate all issued deferrals of deportation and work permits. It would place nearly 800,000 DACA recipients at risk for deportation.
There is also the troubling possibility that DACA applicants’ personal information, including addresses, could be shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Although ICE doesn’t have the resources to visit every DACA recipient’s home, it’s unclear if they could legally use the information from DACA applications to enforce immigration.
DACA recipients with an existing deportation order or criminal record would be more vulnerable than others.
EVERYONE should take steps to prepare themselves for the worse. Two very important actions you can take are:
- Dreamers should seek the advice and representation of competent legal counsel. Develop a plan of action and be ready to act! Call us; the experienced immigration attorneys at Antonini & Cohen can help.
- Contact your US Senators and Representatives. Encourage them to support and pass Senate Bill 1615: The Dream Act of 2017.
United We Dream has provided tips on how DACA beneficiaries can protect themselves if they are at risk of ICE apprehensions. Here are some of their suggestions:
Do Not Open Your Doors. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can’t legally enter your home without a warrant signed by a judge. With your door shut, ask ICE to slide the signed warrant under the door or push it up against a window. They cannot come in unless you let them.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent. ICE can use anything you say against you in immigration court. It’s important for you to remain silent and ask to speak to your attorney. Tell the immigration officer: “I am exercising my Fifth Amendment right and choosing to remain silent until I speak to my attorney.”
Do Not Sign Anything Before Speaking to an Attorney. ICE and Customs Border Protection (CBP) may attempt to pressure or force you into signing your own deportation order (also known as a voluntary departure). Do not sign anything they give you without speaking to an attorney first.
Record Your Encounter. Take note of badge numbers, the number of agents, time, type of cars they used, and exactly what happened. Reporting this information will help advocates determine whether any rights violations occurred.
Report Your Encounter. United We Dream runs a hotline for people to report activity of ICE, CBP, or any other enforcement agencies. Report the activity by calling the hotline at 1–844–363–1423.
Contact an Immigration Lawyer. Get a trustworthy immigration attorney and explore all options to fight your case. If detained, remember that you might be able to pay to be released on bond. Don’t lose hope. Not-for-profit agencies in Georgia, such as Catholic Charities, The Latin American Association, and The Southern Poverty Law Center, may be able to represent you at low to no cost if you can’t pay for representation.
Protect Your Assets. If you bought a vehicle, home, or have a business, prepare a plan for how you will maintain them if you lose your job or are put into deportation proceedings.
Prepare Your Documents. Make a folder with documents that prove your physical presence in the US as far back as you can. Make a copy of the front and back of your important documents, such as passports, work permits, social security cards, driver’s licenses, leasing contracts, and G-28 forms. Keep the copies and originals in a safe place.
Make Plans for Your Children. If you have children under the age of 18 (regardless of whether they are US citizens), have emergency guardianship papers in place. This will provide you with peace of mind knowing how your child will be cared for if you are detained or deported. Apply for, renew, and keep safe your children’s valid passports.
Prepare a Phone Tree. In case you or a loved one is detained, you need to have one person who can connect and activate all of your support system , including family, teachers, mentors, and friends who will support you and your loved ones.
If DACA ends, the best way to deal with the consequences is to be prepared! At Antonini & Cohen, we support you and believe in your right to due process, fairness, and justice under the law. Contact us if we can assist you with your immigration questions.