Dreams Deferred: One Year After DACA Rescission

September 5th, 2018

Dreamers and immigrant advocates reflect on a year of uncertainty

NEW YORK, NY - Today, the New York Immigration Coalition held a press call with Dreamers, immigrant advocates, and legal service providers, marking one year since the Trump administration terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The decision triggered a national movement and a string of legal battles to restore the program.

Today, one year later, the DACA program remains in jeopardy, leaving hundreds of thousands of lives in limbo.

Listen to the full press call here.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Trump has waged war on DACA for the last year, and his Administration continues to put hundreds of thousands of young immigrant lives on hold. The courts are on our side, and advocates, legal service providers, and Dreamers fight everyday to keep 800,000 futures alive. Yet both Trump and our congressional leaders have failed time-and-time again to deliver a solution. Now is the time for the President and Congress to listen to the vast majority of Americans who support passing a clean DREAM Act; our country's future depends on it.”

"There are thousands of Asian American DACA recipients like me who have spent the past year uncertain about their future and fearing deportation," said David Choi, community organizer at the MinKwon Center for Community Action. "But we will not be silenced, and we will continue fighting until we achieve justice for all immigrants who are under attack by the Trump administration."

“DACA has opened many doors we undocumented students thought were closed. We just ask for a permanent solution to keep those doors open and keep making this country our home, a better place,” said Vanessa, member of Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC and DACA recipient.

On Friday afternoon, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen in the Southern District of Texas denied Texas and other states’ attempts to place an injunction on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, meaning renewals will continue to be accepted. Texas and the other plaintiff states have 21 days to appeal his decision.

A Year in the Fight for DACA

  • September 5th, 2017 - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the DACA program; no new DACA applications filed after this date were accepted.

  • September 5th, 2017 - The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) organized an emergency response rally with thousands of New Yorkers in attendance at Foley Square; 13 people were arrested in a civil disobedience at the Manhattan entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • September 15th, 2017 - The NYIC and 41 partner organizations announced a plan to provide free legal services for DACA recipients statewide.

  • October 5th, 2017 - The DHS deadline to file DACA renewals for individuals whose DACA expires before March 5th, 2018.

  • November 10th, 2017 - The NYIC and Legal Aid Society filed joint Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for correspondence between USCIS, USPS, and DHS, after several DACA recipients who sent their renewal applications before the October 5th deadline were erroneously denied for supposedly missing this arbitrarily set October 5th deadline.

  • November 16th, 2017 - USCIS reversed its prior decision and agreed to allow renewal applications that were mailed and postmarked on time, but not delivered to USCIS until after the October 5th deadline, to refile with proof of the initial mailing.

  • December 4th, 2017 - The NYIC and partners rallied outside U.S. Representative John Katko’s district office to demand support for a clean DREAM Act.

  • December 6th, 2017 - The NYIC joined a national rally of tens of thousands in Washington D.C. to demand a clean DREAM Act.

  • December 7th, 2017 - The NYIC and partners rallied thousands in Washington Square Park to demand a clean DREAM Act.

  • December 18th, 2017 - The NYIC and partners rallied outside U.S. Representative John Faso’s district office to demand his support for a clean DREAM Act.

  • December 18th, 2017 - The NYIC met with congressional representatives in Washington D.C., including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, urging action to pass a clean DREAM Act before the end of the year; NYIC staff and partners were subsequently arrested during a civil disobedience demonstration inside the United States Senate offices in D.C.

  • December 23rd, 2017 - The NYIC and partners rallied at Grand Army Plaza and outside the home of Minority Leader Senator Charles Schumer, demanding leadership to pass a clean DREAM Act before the end of the year.

  • January 9th, 2018 - San Francisco Federal Judge William Alsup orders USCIS to accept all DACA renewals nationwide; does not include new applications or advance parole.

  • January 13th, 2018 - USCIS begins accepting all DACA renewals again.

  • January 16th, 2018 - The NYIC meets with congressional representatives in Washington D.C. to demand a clean DREAM Act.

  • January 30th, 2018 - The NYIC held phone-banks to urge Minority Leader Senator Charles Schumer to include a clean DREAM Act in the federal budget during President Trump’s first State of the Union.

  • February 4th, 2018 - The NYIC and the Workers Center of Central New York held phone-bank to urge Representative John Katko to include a clean DREAM Act in the federal budget.

  • February 6th, 2018 - The NYIC joined national rally in Washington D.C. to demand a clean DREAM Act be included in the federal budget.

  • February 13th, 2018 - New York Federal Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis issued a second injunction, ordering USCIS to continue accepting DACA renewals; does not include new applications or advance parole.

  • February 26th, 2018 - The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s petition to bypass the usual Circuit Court of Appeals process to restore DACA. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case and maintained the current district court injunction– ordering USCIS to accept DACA renewals.

  • February 27th, 2018 - The NYIC and New York City faith leaders held a joint press conference urging Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act.

  • March 5th, 2018 - The NYIC and partners rallied across the state for a national day of action to demand a clean DREAM Act.

  • March 13th, 2018 - NYIC launched the “RenewNOW” campaign, encouraging DACA and TPS recipients to seek legal consultation when renewing their DACA status.

  • April 24th, 2018 - D.C. Federal Judge John D. Bates ruled USCIS must accept new DACA applications again, but did not require USCIS to accept applications until after 90 days so that the Trump administration could present evidence explaining why the administration rescinded the DACA program.

  • May 1st, 2018 - Texas and six other states filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Southern District of Texas challenging the 2012 DACA program; the plaintiffs asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would stop USCIS from adjudicating applications for deferred action under DACA while the lawsuit is pending.

  • August 3rd, 2018 - D.C. Federal Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Trump administration failed to provide justification for rescinding DACA and ordered USCIS to accept new applications again, but this does not require applications to be accepted until after a 20-day period, allowing DHS to issue an intent to appeal.

  • August 8th, 2018 -  Arguments in the Texas federal lawsuit were heard before Federal Judge Andrew Hanen on whether to grant a preliminary injunction halting the DACA program; decision is pending.

  • August 17th, 2018 - D.C. Federal Judge John D. Bates partially stayed his earlier order that vacated the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA program. This stay postpones the effective date of portions of the court’s order that would require USCIS to accept DACA applications regardless of whether the applicants previously had DACA.

  • August 31st, 2018 - Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen in the Southern District of Texas denied Texas and other states’ attempts to place an injunction on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, meaning renewals will continue to be accepted. Texas and the other plaintiff states have 21 days to appeal his decision.

The NYIC urges individuals in the renewal process to seek legal consultation by calling the Office of New Americans (ONA) hotline (1-800-566-7636).

Background

One year ago, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In the interim, Congress debated many proposals to provide a permanent legislative solution to ensure DREAMers would continue to thrive. Ultimately, lacking strong leadership and the willingness to put people over politics, Congress failed to act.

However, since then, three federal Circuit Court judges have ruled that the Trump administration ended DACA unlawfully and issued national injunctions requiring U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to continue accepting renewal applications.

Judge Hanen’s Friday ruling allows those injunctions to remain in place, and current and former DACA recipients can continue renewing their status as usual. The NYIC is urging DACA recipients to seek legal consultation to consider filing for renewal.

Over fifty percent of DACA recipients under the age of 25 are on track to receive a bachelor’s degree, and in total, over ninety percent of DACA recipients are employed. In the next 10 years, the country stands to lose $460.3 billion in GDP if DACA ends without a legislative solution. In New York alone, there are 115,000 Dream Act-eligible individuals in the workforce, who would add a projected $1.75 billion to the state GDP annually over ten years.

The uncertainty around the DACA program is taking a toll on DACA recipients. In a comprehensive survey conducted last month, a majority of DACA recipient respondents revealed that at least once a day they fear they will be deported, and more than 75 percent of DACA recipients with children worry every day about being separated from their children.

In the aftermath of the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on September 5th, 2017, the New York Immigration Coalition organized a 5,000 person rally at Foley Square. During a civil disobedience to shutdown the Brooklyn Bridge, thirteen community leaders were arrested and spent the night in jail.

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Need legal assistance?

Call the NYS Immigration Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 or find a legal service provider here