dreamers

Thousands of Dreamers Graduate from Texas High Schools with No Protections in Place

By Peek & Toland on July 23, 2019

According to a recent Dallas News story, about 17,000 recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are graduating from high school this year. About 98,000 DACA recipients are graduating from high school nationwide, with the number of graduating seniors in Texas second only to those in California. While many are looking forward to attending college and building their futures, all are doing so with uncertainty in the back of their minds. Congress has yet to enact any legislation that would create a path to citizenship for the so-called “Dreamers,” which makes it their future lives in the U.S. far from clear.

Some economists believe that immigrants are critical to the American economy and workforce, including in the state of Texas. Therefore, DACA could be an essential program in maintaining the economic health of the state and the country. Immigrants also are playing a part in filling jobs in industries with current labor shortages, which are primarily in the service industry, such as hotel workers.

Thousands of Dreamers Graduate from Texas High Schools with No Protections in Place

The article credits the Texas Dream Act, passed by the Texas legislature in 2001, as key in helping Dreamers who have graduated from high school to attend college. Under the Texas Dream Act, Dreamers who graduate from a Texas high school can attend in-state colleges and pay only in-state tuition. Additionally, with the work authorization currently available for DACA recipients, these individuals can legally work in the U.S., as well.

Thus far, attempts in the Texas legislature to repeal the Texas Dream Act and by the Trump administration to end DACA have failed. As the federal court litigation concerning DACA continues, these individuals continue to educate themselves, work, grow, and learn, despite the overwhelming uncertainty as to their futures. At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you obtain through your immigration problems. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout the immigration process. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering documentation to support your goals. Allow us to handle your immigration case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.

Posted in Deferred Action

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Homeland Security Secretary Floats Citizenship for People Shielded from Deportation

By Peek & Toland on January 5, 2018

The Trump administration announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides a level of amnesty to some undocumented immigrants, last year. In the following months, the question of what should happen to those temporarily shielded from deportation has been discussed.

This month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen floated the idea of citizenship for people who were temporarily shielded from deportation.

The Homeland Security Secretary’s comments came as the future of so-called “Dreamers” was discussed.

Nielsen said the Trump administration would consider immigration legislation that might include a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people.

However, Nielsen stressed no decision has been made on the issue of Dreamers and a border wall remains a priority. The so-called ‘wait and see’ policy as reported in VOANews represents little change in the official stance.

Help for people shielded from deportation

The White House is considering options for people shielded for deportation

 Almost 790,000 young people, many who came to America as children, gained the right to work, live and seek education under DACA. It gave them breathing space from deportation proceedings.

President Donald Trump has called for Congress to address the issue after his executive order ended DACA.

However, discussions in Congress were complicated by issues like the wall and wider immigration reforms.

In an interview, Nielsen said Congress is considering three options which include citizenship or permanent legal status for people who were shielded from deportation.

She said details on how these people would qualify for citizenship, including how many years they should wait and other pertinent requirements, would have to be addressed.

Nielsen said the president is open to different scenarios including citizenship but the White House had not made any decisions. Nielson indicated any protections for Dreamers should be limited to those who benefitted from the program that is being phased out rather than new recipients.

In September, Trump stated he would not consider citizenship for DACA recipients. Trump gave Congress until March to deliver a legislative fix.

Options being considered by Congress include permanent residency, defined as residency for a certain time period such as three or four years, subject to renewal, as well as citizenship, Nielsen said.

“It will be interesting to see where (Congress) can get comfortable with what they mean by what is a permanent fix but the idea would be that you move away from a temporary status.”

However, the Homeland Security Secretary maintained she is hopeful the White House and Congress can reach a deal including a border wall and immigration enforcement measures.

The wall between the United States and Mexico remains a contentious issue for Democrats and some Republicans in Congress. Nielsen said building a wall was “first and foremost.”

The administration has also targeted so-called “loopholes” on issues including the handling of asylum claims and local police co-operating with immigration authorities.

Nielsen and other senior officials in the Trump administration will discuss a potential deal with members of Congress this week. Trump met with senators working on a legislative fix over Dreamers on Jan. 4.

Trump had earlier attacked Democrats for doing nothing to protect DACA recipients. Nielsen said the president is also set to request $1.6 billion for the border barrier, as well as a similar amount to build or replace 74 miles of barriers in California and Texas. Barriers currently cover about a third of the border, just over 650 miles.

If you are impacted by immigration changes at this difficult time, please contact our Austin immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Citizenship, Deferred Action, Immigration

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First DREAMer Deported Under the Trump Administration

By Peek & Toland on October 9, 2017

The arrival of the Trump administration led to considerable speculation about the future of so-called DREAMERs. Recently, the first DREAMer deported under the new administration sparked increased concern.

DREAMERS are undocumented immigrants who were protected under Obama’s Dream Act.

Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, 23, was sent to his home country of on February 17 just hours after he failed to provide identification of his legal residency to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent.

Trump administration saw first DREAMer deported

The first DREAMer was deported under the Trump administration

A report in People said Montes was out with his girlfriend and waiting for a taxi when the agent came and questioned him. He said he’d left his wallet in a friend’s car. Because he was unable to prove he was protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), he was transferred into custody. Agents took him across the border a few hours later.

Alarm as First DREAMer deported under the Trump Administration

People who qualified for the DACA program have been concerned about its future under the Trump administration.

The program helps DREAMers who are foreign-born individuals brought to the United States. as children. Obama’s flagship policy gave them a two-year work permit, a social security number, and protection from deportation.

The People report said Montes applied for DACA status in 2014, then again in 2016. He was meant to be protected until 2018, because the program runs for two full years.

The Trump administration previously moved to reassure DREAMers they were safe under the Trump administration.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly said the DACA program is “alive and well.”

However, the deportation of Montes Bojorquez left the DREAMer community nervous.

In our blog we describe how the election of Trump left those who benefitted from Obama’s policy in limbo.

These are uncertain and difficult times for immigrants. If you or a family member is facing possible deportation from Texas and need assistance to fight the action, please call Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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What The Ending of the DACA Program Means to Dreamers

By Peek & Toland on September 15, 2017

Immigrants brought to the United States as children endured a rollercoaster ride in recent months as the future of the DACA program was debated. Although President Trump gave a safeguard about the program four months earlier, he suddenly announced the program would be rescinded this month.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined the decision to end DACA at a press conference at the Justice Department on September 5. He argued that the program, originally created by President Obama, is unconstitutional and was an executive branch overreach.

The Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012, we noted on our website.

The DACA program includes almost 790,000 recipients. Its goal is to permit young people, most of them who lived the majority of their lives in the US, to work and contribute to their communities without fear of deportation.

Under the program, undocumented immigrants under 30, known as “Dreamers” gain the temporary right to live, work and seek education in the United States provided they pass background checks. They do not receive citizenship or legal status.

Four months ago, President Trump indicated the DACA program was safe. However, in August reports surfaced that he was considering scrapping it, noted CNN.

The Department of Homeland Security is providing a six-month window to consider pending requests, reported CBS. It will give Congress the chance to pass a legislative alternative to DACA. This means the program will end at different times for different recipients, expiring on a rolling basis.

Outlining the DACA pogram

THe DACA program is seen as part of the American Dream

For Dreamers, the decision comes as a bitter blow. People who have been in the United States for many years, often since they were young children, face losing the right to contribute to their communities and even the possibility of deportation to their birth nations.

However, there remains uncertainty about what will happen in Congress and the decision will impact different DACA recipients in various ways. The issue took a new twist this week when Trump was reported to be hashing out a DACA deal with Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill that might save aspects of the program.

The main scenarios are as follows according to the CBS article.

  • Initial DACA requests and applications for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) received as of Sept. 5, the date of the announcement will be adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on a case-by-case basis.
  • USCIS will automatically reject all initial DACA requests and associated EADs received after Sept. 5.
  • USCIS will adjudicate requests for renewing DACA benefits and associated applications for EADs on an individual, case-by-case basis if received before Sept. 5.
  • Dreamers whose DACA status expires between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, will be eligible for adjudication of renewal requests, but only if documentation is received by Oct. 5, 2017.
  • Individuals whose DACA protection expires on March 6, 2018, or a following date who have not already submitted a renewal application, would be subject to deportation on March 6, 2018, or a later date.
  • USCIS will continue to process lost, stolen or destroyed EADs, to give Dreamers replacement documents for the remainder of the time that they’re valid.

USCIS will close all pending applications for Advance Parole associated with the DACA program. This is a permit allowing a non-citizen to reenter the United States after traveling abroad.

USCIS will honor the validity period of a previously approved Advance Parole. But if a person doesn’t have a previously approved parole application and travels outside the country, his or her departure would automatically terminate their deferred action under DACA.  Customs and Border Protection are unlikely to allow them to re-enter the U.S.

A wide range of legislators, non-profits and other agencies urged Trump not to end DACA, reported USA Today.

In a Facebook post , former president Barack Obama branded Trump’s choice to end the program “cruel,” “wrong” and contrary to common sense.

Trump’s initial stance to retain the DACA program met opposition from Republican states, spearheaded by Texas.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with nine other state attorneys, issued an ultimatum to the Trump administration in July, threatening to take legal action. Paxton referred to the failure of the Obama administration to extend DACA after the former president’s executive orders were deadlocked at the U.S. Supreme Court. Paxton wrote:

“The courts blocked DAPA and Expanded DACA from going into effect, holding that the Executive Branch does not have the unilateral power to confer lawful presence and work authorization on unlawfully present aliens simply because the Executive chooses not to remove them.”

The action by Texas put additional pressure on the president to announce a new policy on DACA before a potential court challenge.

Government officials say from August and December, 201,678 people are set to have their DACA and associated EADs expire.  Of this group, 55,258 have requests for renewal pending with USCIS. Next year, more than 275,000 will see their DACA and EADs expire and more than 300,000 in 2019.

Although the government has reiterated its policy that anyone who is illegally in the United States could be deported, DHS officials made it clear criminals who are undocumented will still be the priority for removal.

These are difficult times for the so-called Dreamers in Texas and elsewhere. However, there is still an element of uncertainty about what will happen in Congress. If you need help with an issue related to the DACA program or another issue, please call our experienced Austin family immigration attorneys at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Deferred Action, Immigration Reform

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Should I renew my DACA application now that Trump is President?

By Peek & Toland on January 25, 2017

The election of a president who opposed his predecessor’s immigration proposals has led many people who qualified for DACA to ask if they should even bother to renew their DACA application under the Trump administration.

The answer is yes. While Donald Trump spoke about targeting dreamers during the election campaign, he hasn’t said much about it since he was elected.

While DACA is often discussed in relation to Obama’s unsuccessful attempts to extend the program, many people forget that 800,000 plus undocumented youths who came to the country as children were allowed to apply for DACA a few years earlier. They were made eligible for work authorization, stated U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Our Austin family immigration lawyers describe the program here.

Why you should renew your DACA application

There are many reasons to renew your DACA application

There are many good reasons for renewing your DACA application and not many for giving up.

Even if Trump were to rescind DACA, it usually takes time to abandon a major program of this nature. You could still benefit from having it until then. If you file an application and the program is terminated before the application is granted, you will get the fee back. You have nothing to lose if you file.

Typically, when a discretionary program like DACA or Temporary Protected Status is ended, the termination will not be immediate.

Bills to Protect Your DACA Application

There are also some moves to protect dreamers. In December, a bipartisan bill called the Bridge Act, was submitted to Congress.

It would grant the young people who were granted DACA status protection from deportation should Trump follow through with his pre-election pledge.

The new bill would put DACA recipients into a new status, “provisional protected presence.” They would be protected for at least three years from enactment.

If you don’t renew your DACA application you will be allowing Trump to inflict your worst case scenario on the basis of a pre-election threat. We have seen Trump backtracking on a raft of threatened immigration measures including the building of the wall between Mexico and the United States.

At Peek & Toland , our Austin immigration attorneys can advise you of your rights if you are facing deportation and help you plot a course of action.

Call us today for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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