If you do not currently have DACA and are considering whether to apply for it for the first time, we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals–accredited representative before you apply.
Because no one is certain about what will happen with DACA, and because immigrant communities have legitimate fears about what will happen to them under the Trump administration, at this time we recommend not submitting a first-time application for DACA unless you have consulted with and are being represented by an attorney or accredited representative. This recommendation may change in the future, as we learn more about the Trump administration’s plans for DACA.
Also consider this: If you apply for DACA today, it takes three months or more to process a DACA application. Three months from now the DACA program may have been terminated, and we don’t know what USCIS will do about pending applications. It’s possible not only that your application will not be approved, but that you may lose the $495 application fee.
On the other hand, there are scenarios under which submitting your application now may have positive results. For example, if the DACA program is not terminated before your application is approved, the following possibilities would still exist:
- The Trump administration may decide not to terminate the DACA program. You would then have work authorization and be protected from deportation.
- The DACA program may be terminated, but people who already have DACA may still have work authorization and be protected from deportation until their DACA and work permit expire.
- The Trump administration may decide to stop accepting first-time applications for DACA but continue to allow people who already have DACA to renew it.
- Legislation such as the BRIDGE Act could be enacted that would make people who have DACA automatically eligible for work authorization and protection from deportation.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed on January 23 that USCIS is still accepting and processing DACA applications, despite the possibility that that the DACA program might be terminated.
These are uncertain times, and nobody knows exactly what will happen to the DACA program. You should weigh your options with a licensed attorney along with your family, and then make a decision.