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Today, President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by President Obama, which gave illegal immigrants who came to America as children two-year work permits and delayed deportation proceedings against them. But President Trump isn't ending DACA overnight, he's phasing it out over 6 months. He's stopping new sign-ups for DACA and he's giving those whose DACA work permit is expiring in the next six months a renewal of their work permit, i.e. two more years of work authorization.

So my question is, when will Trump's decision today start leading to actual deportations? That is to say, what is the earliest time when people who would have been protected by DACA will start becoming subject to deportation?

Will it be shortly after March 5, 2018, i.e. six months after today? Because if my understanding is correct, someone whose DACA work permit expires on, say, March 6 would not have their work permit renewed under the Trump policy, so they'd become subject to deportation on March 6. Am I right about this?

  • There are 11 million people living undercover in the US. Most of them are not going to get deported any time soon, regardless of what the Republicans or the Democrats might claim. – JonathanReez Sep 6 '17 at 0:02
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    @JonathanReez I'm not asking when most illegal immigrants will be deported, I'm asking when the first illegal immigrant will be deported who wouldn't have been deported under DACA. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 6 '17 at 0:03
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    DACA was never about helping people avoid deportation. It was about providing a path towards legalizing one's status. So whatever date the first person is deported on is irrelevant as the vast majority would not have been deported even if DACA never existed. – JonathanReez Sep 6 '17 at 0:05
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    @JonathanReez Well, once a person loses DACA status, they become subject to deportation. Whether everyone who loses DACA status will be deported is irrelevant. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 6 '17 at 0:11
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    But if 99% won't be deported eventually, it isn't really relevant is it? – JonathanReez Sep 6 '17 at 0:36
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Donald Trump's administration has not been bound by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The first deportation already occurred in April. There is nothing keeping DACA people from being deported. That's the whole problem with doing the program as an executive action. It only lasts as long as it has presidential support.

The far bigger problem isn't deportations but jobs. People who were legally employable under DACA will lose their jobs when their work authorizations expire. Or their employment would be illegal. That starts happening involuntarily March 6th, 2018 without additional changes. But people in the program could be deported earlier than that.

It's also worth noting that the biggest current effect has been that people have been more reluctant to renew their DACA status under Donald Trump. So some people's work authorizations will expire sooner than that.

The announcement says:

USCIS will adjudicate, on an individual, case by case basis:

  • Properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) that have been accepted as of Sept. 5, 2017.
  • Properly filed pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for EADs from current beneficiaries that have been accepted as of the date of this memorandum, and from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 that have been accepted as of Oct. 5, 2017.

The part about adjudicating "on an individual, case by case basis" suggests that they can deny renewals prior to March 6th, 2018.

What happens on March 6th, 2018 is that no renewals starting later than that can be accepted without some sort of intervening action by Congress. It's not when they start ending DACA. It's when they've finished everything but waiting for existing authorizations to expire.

They have already stopped taking new applications and renewals. So people who never registered for the program can be deported as of September 6th, 2017. However, as I said earlier, the Trump administration already could (and had) deported people covered by DACA. This just removes that particular appeal as something that the administration could allow.

  • Can you give some proof that people's DACA status will start expiring on March 6? That's what I want to confirm. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 6 '17 at 0:37
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    @KeshavSrinivasan March 6 is six months from now per the president's order. – user1530 Sep 6 '17 at 1:01
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    Your answer is right on but I wish you would add the fact that Congress can and should pass something to correct the situation permanently. I know you mention it once, but I think it is the most important part of this decision and it is being downplayed by the media in favor of "the-sky-is-falling" narrative. This truly belongs to congress, what Obama did was kick the ball down the street and left the dreamers hanging. – Frank Cedeno Sep 6 '17 at 13:32

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