On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the Justice Department announced the cancellation of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama-era program has allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain here. In this article we will discuss the available legal options for DACA recipients.
The announcement has thrown the lives of about 800,000 DACA recipients into a tailspin as they face the possibility of losing their protected status and being deported. Effective immediately, USCIS will no longer consider new DACA applications. However, a six-month grace period gives Congress time to possibly save the program or enact the legislation.
Legal Options for DACA Recipients
There are several immigration laws that can help some DACA recipients change their status and remain in the U.S. legally. To find out if you qualify for these options, you should contact an experienced immigration law firm immediately to begin the process.
“It’s very important to act quickly and only work with attorneys who concentrate exclusively on immigration cases,” said Sassoun A. Nalbandian, lead attorney for Nalbandian Law, a 5-star immigration firm in Los Angeles. “Immigration law is very complicated, so attorneys who only occasionally handle an immigration case won’t be able to provide wise counsel based on the most up-to-date immigration laws,” Mr. Nalbandian emphasized.
- Asylum – American asylum laws protect people who had to flee their native country due to being persecuted or due the fear of persecution if they remain. You can apply for asylum based on persecution in your home country on account of race, ethnicity, religion, political opinion, domestic violence, sexual orientation, or membership in a particular social group. Nalbandian Law has helped win victories for hundreds of asylum seekers, often without having to go to immigration court.
- Marriage to a U.S. Citizen – If you are in a serious, legitimate relationship with a U.S. citizen, getting married to your loved one will give you green card status and protection from deportation. Please remember that you will need to prove that your relationship is real, and that you’re not just getting married to stay in the U.S.
- Cancellation of Removal – If you have been here over 10 years prior to being placed in removal proceedings and have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident such as spouse, parent, or child, your deportation can be cancelled if you can show that your deportation will result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship for family members.
DREAM Act Proposals Now in Congress
These are a few of the more promising proposals currently before Congress:
- Bipartisan Dream Act
In a bipartisan move on July 20, 2017, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced the Dream Act, legislation that would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship.
- The Bridge Act
This legislation would allow individuals who met the requirements of DACA to be protected from deportation and work legally in the US for the next three years, giving Congress more time to work out a more permanent immigration solution than the Trump administration’s six-month deadline would allow. It has some bipartisan support.
- The RAC Act
Favored by many Republicans, the RAC (Recognizing America’s Children) Act would allow individuals who arrived in the U.S. before age 16 and have been here for at least five years, to apply for “conditional” permanent residency. They must also meet educational and criminal requirements similar to DACA. After five years, individuals could apply for standard green cards and eventually become citizens.
Regular Updates on New DACA Legislation
To learn about the latest news regarding pending legislation to protect DACA recipients, please subscribe to our mailing list or visit our Nalbandian Law Facebook page. We provide regular updates on legislation that may affect your status.
Contact Nalbandian Law today
If you have any questions or concerns regarding these recent developments, call the immigration experts at Nalbandian Law, (818) 244-0310, and schedule a consultation with Mr. Nalbandian. He will review your case carefully and only agree to represent you if he believes your case can be won.