After a divisive election year, we remain hopeful and ready to work to support policies that protect the dignity of all our students and families.
President-elect Donald Trump has made various statements about what he would do as president. But it remains to be seen what policies he can or will adopt. We recognize the fear immigrant families may be experiencing. We strongly advise that families stay informed and engaged in upcoming policy discussions that will directly affect their lives.
Trump has said he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was launched in 2012 through an executive action by President Obama. Once he is sworn in as president, Trump will have the authority to end the DACA program. If he does so, that would mean that those who would have qualified for DACA would no longer be able to apply; and those who currently have DACA may no longer be protected from deportation or have access to a work permit.
To be clear, this does not mean that DACA recipients would automatically be at greater risk for deportation than other undocumented immigrants.
There are many other actions immigrant families can still take to protect themselves and secure their futures.
Now more than ever, students and parents should contact us http://bit.ly/uspattorney, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5102569313 to make an appointment for an immigration screening to see if undocumented family members qualify for other available immigration options that could provide a work permit and more stable immigration status in the United States (such as U-visas for crime victims or T-visas for trafficking victims, OR special immigrant juvenile status for youth who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by a parent) or more permanent immigration status (such as a green card through a family member).
In California, undocumented immigrants can still apply for a driver’s license under AB 60.
Eligible lawful permanent residents can apply to become U.S. citizens.
I also want to direct people towards Know Your Rights resources such as the ACLU. We will likely have several workshops with regards to this in the near future.
I also want to discuss specifics with regards to particular programs and measures:
DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)
- Initial DACA Applicants – At this time, it may not be in community members’ best interest to file a DACA application as a first-time applicant.
- Renewal DACA Applicants – For those who need to renew DACA, we can continue to support in the application process and fees if needed. For all DACA renewals we submit moving forward, we can use the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC)’s office address and/or request a change of address to change it to EBCLC’s office address at 2921 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703. Please note DACA is discretionary, and thus this program may be discontinued under the upcoming presidency. If this happens, we will work with students to brainstorm creative strategies with regards to both legal status and work authorization.
- If you currently have DACA, have a sick relative abroad, and last entered the country without permission, please consider coming in to see your attorney immediately. You may be eligible to submit an application on humanitarian grounds at the local USCIS office to travel between now and before mid-January. One of the benefits of travelling before the next presidency is that upon return to the U.S., advance parole recipients are a granted lawful entry that they can use to adjust their status in the future. Please note Advance Parole is discretionary, and thus this program may be discontinued under the upcoming presidency.
- Prop. 64 in the state of California legalized the recreational use of marijuana per the elections results on November 8, 2016. We want to remind folks that being found in possession of marijuana elevate your risk as a non-citizen as marijuana remains on the controlled substance list.
Regardless of what happens, I remain confident that we will defend all families with every tool we have, come what may, and continue to fight beside you to ensure that you are able to not just survive, but live full, complete lives in the United States.
– Prerna Lal, Esq. Immigration Attorney