As DACA Termination Looms, Advancing Justice-LA Focuses on Urgent DACA Renewals and Vows to Fight for all Immigrants

(Photo credit: Keyang Pang)

LOS ANGELES – On September 5, 2017, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program effective March 5, 2018. In response, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) and other organizations held a press conference today to explain what the termination means — what was announced, what those eligible for renewal can and should do, other options for current DACA recipients, and state and federal legislative responses. Advancing Justice-LA will provide free legal assistance for current DACA recipients, including those seeking renewal.

“In the five years since the creation of DACA, Advancing Justice-LA has helped thousands of young immigrants secure DACA status and emerge from the shadows,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-LA. “It has been a true lifeline for these young people — most of whom know no other country — allowing them to work above ground and contribute fully to their families, communities, and economy. Now, with the end of DACA looming ahead, we are committed to helping as many as possible and to fighting for their place in our democracy.”

Since its creation in 2012, DACA has transformed the lives of nearly 800,000 young people by providing temporary relief from deportation and work authorization. California is home to more than 200,000 “DACAmented” immigrants, with the largest group living in the Southern California region. Among the DACA recipients affected by the termination are many Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants. Between 2012 and 2017, over 16,000 Asian immigrants received protection under DACA.

Important points included in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s memorandum rescinding DACA include:

  • No new DACA applications will be accepted as of September 5, 2017.
  • Current DACA recipients will continue to have their deferred status and work authorization until they expire.
  • Current DACA recipients whose work authorization expires between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 can renew their work permits, but must submit their renewal applications before October 5, 2017.
  • No new applications of “advance parole” will be approved, allowing DACA recipients to travel outside of the United States, and current holders of advance parole are not guaranteed admittance to the U.S.

“While Advancing Justice-LA will fight to keep DACA and pass the DREAM Act, we also urge all eligible DACA recipients to file for renewal,” said Aman Thind, immigration project director for Advancing Justice-LA. “Right now, the greatest protection for those already in the DACA program is to extend their DACA status as long as possible.”

Based on the proposed changes, Advancing Justice-LA urges all eligible DACA recipients (those whose work permits expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018) to seek renewal before the October 5, 2017 deadline to receive renewal applications. Currently, Advancing Justice-LA and our trained staff are offering free renewal assistance to eligible DACA recipients.

For the month of September, we are offering renewal clinics every Thursday at our office downtown. To schedule an appointment, please call one of our in-language intake lines:

Chinese: 800-520-2356
Khmer: 800-867-3126
Korean: 800-867-3640
Tagalog: 855-300-2552
Thai: 800-914-9583
Vietnamese: 800-267-7395
English/Other: 888-349-9695
Advancing Justice-LA also urges any DACA recipients who are currently abroad and have concerns about re-entering the United States to seek legal advice. Please call our intake lines.

Advancing Justice swiftly condemned the administration’s announcement that it will terminate DACA, denouncing it as the latest action to fulfill a policy agenda rooted in hate and inhumanity, and urged Congress to enact a permanent and humane legislative solution that will protect DACA recipients from deportation. Advancing Justice-LA also urges the California legislature and Governor Brown to enact current state legislative proposals like SB 54 (“California Values Act”) and AB 699 (Safe Schools for Immigrant Students) that would make California the national leader in protecting undocumented immigrants in courts, schools, hospitals and other public spaces.

“We demand strong unwavering moral leadership from our legislators,” said Betty Hung, policy director of Advancing Justice-LA. “We call on Congress to immediately pass clean legislation that does not exploit immigrant youth as a bargaining chip for harsh enforcement measures, but instead respects the inherent dignity and humanity of all immigrants with a real path to citizenship for immigrant youth and their families. And we call on our own state leaders, including our Governor, to strengthen California’s protections for undocumented immigrants by enacting SB 54 and AB 699 into law. Regardless of what happens in Congress, we must stand up for all immigrants in our community.”


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