Discussion Points for Punto Legal- February 21, 2018

1. DACA.

We are still looking for a DREAM Act. The Senate failed to pass a legislative replacement to the DACA program last Thursday, leaving Congress with few legislative options.

March 5th-which is 12 days away-was President Trump's deadline for a DACA fix. But DACA recipients won't automatically lose their benefits after March 5th.

In fact, because of two court injunctions in California and New York, existing DACA beneficiaries are allowed to apply to renew their two-year DACA permit, which shields you from deportation and allows you to work in the U.S.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court held a conference on whether it would hear the Trump administration's appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from winding down DACA. A decision on whether to review the case could come any day.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA, there were 689,800 registered recipients, according to DHS.

Under the terms of the memo ending DACA, only beneficiaries whose two-year permit ended before March 6th were allowed to reapply; those whose permit ended March 6th and onward were allowed to use up the remainder of their permit, but not to apply for an extension.

Had the courts not enjoined Trump's order, DACA protections would start to run out for recipients. In March, around 13,000 people would lose benefits, then 4,500 in April, 14,000 in May. That would continue until the last recipients lost their protections in September 2019, according to DHS.

Now all recipients are allowed to reapply.

If the injunctions were lifted without legislation to replace DACA in place, DREAMers would lose their benefits.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) will try to force a vote on a plan to extend protections to DACA recipients. This plan would provide a three-year extension of the DACA program in exchange for $7.6 billion in border security.