Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — DACA — has helped immigrants in Louisiana who were brought to the United States as children without documentation. Those who apply for protection and are approved can get work permits, attend school and more. However, the Department of Homeland Security recently announced certain changes to this part of U.S. immigration law.
For the past 12 years, DACA recipients only had to renew every two years. These changes now require DACA recipients to file renewals on a yearly basis. Renewals will supposedly be subject to the same scrutiny according to immigration law as they were before, and advanced parole applications will be automatically rejected unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
In addition to these changes, DHS plans to reject all new initial requests as well as application fees for the time being. It did not specify how long this will last. The current administration says this pause is to give them time to review and make changes to DACA. But there are currently thousands of people who are eligible for the DACA program, many of whom feel stuck in limbo. Some also allege that these changes actively defy existing court orders.
Navigating the current climate of U.S. immigration law is confusing to say the least. Immigrants living in Louisiana might feel worried about making any significant decisions or applying for visas. There is no one size fits all approach to these types of complex matters. Instead, someone who is struggling with what to do next might want to speak with an experienced attorney about his or her options.