On November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, more commonly known as DACA. People who follow immigration on a national level are concerned that some justices seemed to side with the administration, and might let DACA end. That means that the 700,000 people who currently have DACA will have to find some other immigration status or face deportation. The Supreme Court’s decision is expected sometime in June 2020.
Consider Your Alternatives to DACA
It is not certain that DACA will end, and it is way too soon to panic. But it is time for immigrants with DACA to think about what they will do if DACA ends:
- Is there some other immigration status that you could apply for?
For example, many DACA holders may qualify for family based immigration, but haven’t yet applied because it would require them to leave the country.
- Do you have a defense to deportation, such as cancellation of removal?
If you do not have a path to lawful permanent residency, you should prepare for a potential removal process now. Do not panic. If you meet certain requirements, you may still have a chance for a green card. If you apply for cancellation of removal and your case is approved, you will become a lawful permanent resident. Start working now to give yourself plenty of time to prepare your case.
- Have you hired a good immigration attorney?
Immigration law is always changing and unfortunately, small mistakes can create terrible consequences. You don’t have to hire the first lawyer who agrees to take your case. Take the time to lawyer shop for an experienced immigraion attorney who can help you determine your best options.
Do Not Panic: Plan Ahead
If you have DACA, the most important thing is to start thinking about what you might do now. Do not wait until the last minute and make a decision in panic.
If we are all lucky, DACA will survive and you will never need to rely on your “plan B”. But if DACA ends, you do not want to be forced to make quick decisions because you did not think things through ahead of time.
There is no harm in being over prepared, but there might be real harm in ignoring the possibility that DACA might end. If you are worried about DACA ending, find a good immigration attorney as soon as possible. Making plans ahead of time will give you peace of mind.