Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Overview

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established in 2012 and granted eligible individuals who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 with a temporary, renewable two-year work permit and protection from deportation.

Unfortunately, in September of 2017 the Trump administration announced that it was ending DACA and immediately stopped accepting new applications. Over the last year, there have been many news headlines and court cases relating to the DACA program. In January 2018, a court injunction reopened DACA renewals, and since then more than 180,000 DACA recipients have renewed!

Though it hasn’t yet succeeded, the Trump Administration is determined to end DACA renewals, just like they ended initial DACA applications. With so much uncertainty, it is important to stay empowered, consult an immigration attorney and and renew your DACA now if you are eligible!

Read on for the most current information on DACA. We regularly update this guide with any changes in policy or practice from DHS, CBP and ICE as well as any changes regarding legislation at the federal level. The information provided includes answers to frequently asked questions written by our partners at the National Immigration Law Center.

And remember — with or without DACA, you have rights in the United States. The unpredictable political environment can create stress and anxiety. It is important to follow along with the latest announcements on DACA and take time for yourself with loved ones.  

Please note that the information in this guide is not legal advice. Every person’s situation is different, and you should talk to a qualified immigration lawyer or a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)–accredited representative so that you can make the most informed decision for yourself.

DACA court cases update New!

For an in-depth DACA litigation (lawsuit) timeline, visit https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/daca-litigation-timeline/

On November 5th, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari (cert) on three DACA cases in the following federal courts — New York, Washington, D.C., and California. Petitioning for cert is when a losing party files with the Supreme Court to ask them to review the decision of a lower court. By petitioning for cert, DOJ is trying to fast track these cases to the Supreme Court, where their ultimate goal is to end the DACA program once and for all.

The Supreme Court could decide if it will grant or deny DOJ cert as early as January 2019. If the Supreme Court accepts cert in one or all of these cases, oral arguments will occur in April 2019, with a ruling expected in June 2019. Due to the uncertainty of the trajectory of this case, and the other developing litigation around DACA, if your DACA expires in the next 6 months we strongly encourage you to consult an immigration attorney and submit your renewal application as soon as possible! You are eligible to renew if you have DACA now or have had DACA in the past. There are already tens of thousands of renewals this year alone — let’s keep it up. Remember: you have rights, and you can still renew your DACA today!

Is USCIS still accepting DACA renewal applications?

Yes. On January 9, 2018, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered a halt to the federal government’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. In the case Regents of the University of California, et al. v. Department of Homeland Security, et al., Alsup granted a preliminary injunction — a temporary order blocking the termination of the DACA program while the case goes forward — requiring U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to begin accepting DACA renewal applications again. It is unclear how long this window to apply for renewals will remain open.

Should I submit my DACA renewal application now?

If you are eligible to renew your DACA, you should strongly consider gathering your paperwork, talking to an attorney, and submitting your renewal application as soon as possible. USCIS is currently accepting renewal applications but it is uncertain how long they will continue doing so, as there is an active lawsuit trying to end the program as soon as possible.

View the guide below for a step-by-step guide to renew your DACA. If you’ve had contact with any law or immigration enforcement or have had more than 3 misdemeanors, 1 significant misdemeanor, a felony, or a deportation case since your last renewal, you should consult an immigration attorney before applying.

Unfortunately, at this time, no first-time DACA applications are being accepted, so if you were never approved for DACA you cannot apply now. If you received DACA but your DACA has been expired for more than a year, you can still renew but you will need to file the renewal as if it were an initial application. And remember that no matter your immigration status, you deserve to feel supported and empowered. 

Step-By-Step DACA Renewal Guide

Provided by United We Dream (How To Easily Renew Your DACA)

  1. Find your previous renewal application and use it as a guide as you complete your new renewal application. You can check them to make sure that the information on your new application is consistent with the information you submitted in your previous application.
  2. Make sure to download the correct forms directly from USCIS. You can download them here. If a form is out of date or old, USCIS will not accept it and your application will be rejected.

    You will need to download and complete the following forms:

3. Accurately fill out all forms. Remember to read all instructions on the forms thoroughly, and to double check your responses with the responses you included in your previous renewal application so that the information is consistent. It is recommended that you fill out the forms digitally to make sure all information is readable. If you are filling them out by hand, make sure you write clearly with a black pen.

4. Create a cover letter. A cover letter includes a checklist of the items in the submission to help the USCIS agent easily see what they are about to review. Check out UWD’s cover letter template to give you a starting point.

5. Purchase your money order. You can purchase one at your local U.S. Post Office. USCIS does not accept cash or personal checks. The money order should be for $495 and made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (do not use abbreviations like “DHS”).

The $495 covers biometric and processing fees. If you need financial assistance, visit https://unitedwedream.org/renew-my-daca/find-local-help-near-you/ for organizations near you that may be able to assist or you can set up a gofundme to crowd fund through your personal network.

6. Package and send your application. We recommend that your application packet be in the following order to make it easier for review:

  • $495 Money Order
  • Cover Letter
  • Completed Form G-1145
  • Completed Form I-821D
  • Completed Form I-765
  • Completed Form I-765WS
  • Copies of any supporting evidence.

Where should you send your application? This depends on your location. USCIS has a quick reference guide on where to send your application based on your location.

Tip: Do not staple your application together. This makes it harder for the review process and your application could even be rejected by USCIS. Instead use paper clips.

Tip: We also advise that you mail using priority shipping that includes a tracking number. The USPS’ Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes are perfect for this.

After reviewing and double-checking your application for accuracy, you are ready to send

I live in Texas and have DACA. What does SB4 mean for me?

There are a few things to keep in mind if you are undocumented or DACAmented and live in Texas:

  • What is SB4? SB4 is a Texas law that forces local governments and law enforcement agencies (LLEAs) to do the work of federal immigration officers, and prevents public employees and officials from critiquing SB4 or speaking in favor of immigration reform. The law was supposed to go into effect in fall of 2017 but due to a lawsuit alleging it was unconstitutional an injunction was placed on most of its provisions. Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled on March 13, 2018 that most of SB4 should be allowed to take effect immediately while the lawsuit moves through the court.

    If you or your family have been detained, arrested, or questioned about your immigration status because of SB4, please contact the Houston Immigrants’ Rights hotline at 1-833-HOU-IMMI (1-833-468-4664), 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday – Friday.
  • What does SB4 implementation mean for me? SB4 allows local law enforcement officers to inquire as to an individual’s immigration status. However, local officers must still comply with the Constitution. For example, a local officer cannot decide on his own to arrest an individual simply for being undocumented. Local officers cannot stop individuals because of their race or detain individuals for prolonged periods of time. It is critically important that you know your rights under the U.S. Constitution and practice how to respond if you are approached by law or immigration enforcement officers. For more guidance, read our Know Your Rights guide.

    SB4 also mandates that local police stations comply with all ICE detainers, but jail officers must review detainers and can refuse a detainer if they know a detainee is authorized to be present in the United States or if the detainer does not follow ICE rules.

    If you or your family have been detained, arrested, or questioned about your immigration status because of SB4, please contact the Houston Immigrants’ Rights hotline at 1-833-HOU-IMMI (1-833-468-4664), 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday – Friday.
  • Renew your DACA. If your DACA expires this year, consider applying for renewal as soon as possible. The protections from deportation that a valid DACA confers may become critical as SB4 is implemented in Texas and immigration enforcement increases.
  • DACA recipients with valid permits can still work, and their temporary protection from deportation remains in place. Your DACA is valid until its expiration date.
  • DACA employees have rights. Read more in the “EAD Validity and Employment Rights” section of this guide.

Renewals & Initial Applications

If you have never had DACA before, you may not submit an application now. Only people who have had DACA at some point in the past can submit a renewal application.

If your application has been received and accepted by USCIS before September 5, it will be processed accordingly. It is unclear if applications received in the lockbox but for which a receipt notice has not being issued will be adjudicated by USCIS.

YES. If you were granted DACA, you may submit an application to renew your DACA.[1] However, please note that it is unclear how long USCIS will accept renewal applications so consider applying as soon as possible.

You must also meet the following requirements in order to qualify for DACA renewal:

  • You must not have departed the U.S. on or after August 15, 2012, without first having been granted advance parole.
  • You must have resided continuously in the U.S. from the time you submitted the initial request for DACA up until the present time.
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and must not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

USCIS has reopened the application process for anyone whose DACA has expired. However, the process for applying is different if your DACA expired before September 5, 2016. If your DACA expired before September 5, 2016, you can request to renew your DACA but you must fill out the application as if you were applying for the first time. If you had DACA and your DACA issuance was cut short by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (i.e., if DHS terminated your DACA), you can obtain DACA again by filling out a DACA application as if you were applying for the first time.

When the announcement that DACA was being terminated was made, USCIS imposed the limitation that only people whose DACA expiration dates fell between September 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, would be allowed to reapply, but that rule does not apply to the process announced on Jan. 13.

However, we do not know yet if USCIS will process DACA applications submitted by people whose DACA expires more than 150 days after they submit their application. Early in the DACA program, USCIS stated that it would reject DACA renewal applications from such people. Later, USCIS encouraged DACA recipients to complete their renewal application during the 120 to 150–day window before expiration, to provide enough time for processing and to avoid a lapse in their DACA, but did not reject renewal applications from people who submitted them more than 150 days before their DACA expired. We do not know if USCIS will prioritize cases for people whose DACA has less than 150 days left before expiration. People who have more than 150 days of DACA left before it expires may apply, but they should take into account the possibility that their application may be either rejected or accepted but deprioritized, and that while they are waiting for their case to be processed, the option to renew may end and they may not be able to get their $495 fee payment back.

The court case in which the injunction was issued was brought in a U.S. district court in California, but the order and the renewal process announced by USCIS applies nationwide.

You should assess whether it makes sense for you to apply as soon as possible. There is no deadline by when applications are due. However, the government has already made public that it plans to appeal the court decision. The renewal program may be available indefinitely or may be stopped by another court, depending on how the case proceeds in the courts.

To prepare to apply to renew your DACA:

  • It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of applying at this time. You must consider the possibility that the order requiring USCIS to accept applications may be appealed by the government before or even while your application is pending, and you may risk losing the $495 fee.
  • It’s important that the information in the renewal request be consistent with the information provided in your initial application and any past renewal applications. Therefore, we recommend that when preparing your renewal application now, you refer to a copy of your initial and renewal DACA applications, if that’s possible. You should also make a copy of the current renewal application before you submit it.
  • You must have put aside $495 to pay the renewal application fees.
  • If you have received legal citations, been arrested, or been criminally charged or convicted since initially receiving DACA, you must gather evidence of these contacts with law enforcement or the courts. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney or a BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals)–accredited representative prior to applying, because given changes in who is considered an “immigration enforcement priority,” the risks associated with applying may be different if you have had interactions with law enforcement.
  • If you have a deportation order, a voluntary departure order, or an administratively closed immigration case, we highly recommend speaking to an attorney or BIA-accredited representative prior to applying. Given the change in who is now considered an “immigration enforcement priority,” the risks associated with applying may have changed.
  • If you are currently in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings, you must submit any new documents related to your case, unless you already submitted them to USCIS when you first applied for DACA or unless your case was administratively closed. We recommend speaking to an attorney or BIA-accredited representative prior to applying to assess how applying for DACA will affect your case.

If your DACA expired before September 5, 2016, you can request to renew your DACA, but you must fill out the application as if applying for the first time. If you had DACA and your grant of DACA was cut short by DHS (i.e., DHS terminated your DACA), you can apply to renew your DACA, but you have to complete the DACA application as if you were applying for the first time. Information about the requirements and process for submitting a first-time application is available at www.nilc.org/faqdeferredactionyouth/. Be sure to include the date your DACA expired on Part 1 of the Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

If your DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016, you may submit a DACA renewal application. To file a renewal application, you must fill out and submit these forms: Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood ArrivalsForm I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and Form I-765WS Worksheet. NOTE: You want to use the latest edition of each form to avoid any delays in the processing of your application. To make sure that you’re using the latest edition of each form, look for the following in the bottom left corner of each page of the respective form:

  • Form I-821D 01/09/17 Y
  • Form I-765 07/17/17 N
  • Form I-765WS 07/17/17 N

When you submit a renewal application, you must fill out all sections of the forms and answer all the questions except those designated “For Initial Requests Only.” You must also submit any new documents relevant to your removal proceedings or criminal history that you have not submitted previously. Make sure to provide the date your prior DACA ends or ended in the appropriate box on Part 1 of Form I-821D.

USCIS requires that you send a copy of the front and back of your last employment authorization document, as well as two passport-type photographs taken within 30 days of filing your renewal application.[2]

USCIS asks that no additional documents be sent, not even proof that you have resided continuously in the U.S. since you first received DACA. USCIS advises that you keep all documents that provide evidence that you meet all the guidelines. USCIS reserves the right to ask you for additional information, documents, and statements to verify information on your DACA renewal application. USCIS also reserves the right to contact government agencies and others to verify the information provided in the application.

NOTE: If your DACA was granted initially by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and not USCIS, you must fill out all the sections and answer all the questions on the forms and submit all supporting documentation as if you were filing an initial request. The completed forms and supporting documentation must then be submitted to USCIS.

When you apply to renew DACA, you must include the fee of $495. In very limited circumstances, applicants may be exempted from having to pay the fees.[3]

Regardless of whether your initial DACA was adjudicated by ICE or by USCIS, you must submit your application for renewal to USCIS. Where, specifically, you must send your application depends on where you live. Check USCIS’s Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for the correct mailing address.[4] We highly recommend sending the application by certified mail, to track when it arrives at the USCIS Lockbox, and including in your application packet Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, so you’ll be notified once USCIS accepts your application.

It is a risk to apply. Speak with an attorney or a BIA-accredited representative about your case. Due to how the government’s immigration enforcement priorities changed in January 2017 and the possibility that the current renewal process may be available only for a limited time, it is best to speak with an immigration expert before applying. Even if the incident happened before you applied and received DACA in the past and you revealed it in previous applications for DACA, the enforcement priorities have changed and if you reapply now you are at risk of being referred to ICE.

It is a risk to apply. Speak with an attorney or a BIA-accredited representative about your case. Due to how the government’s immigration enforcement priorities changed in January 2017, if you had any interaction with an immigration judge or immigration court, you should speak with an immigration expert. Even if these events happened before you applied and received DACA in the past and you revealed them in previous applications for DACA, the enforcement priorities have changed and if you reapply now you are at risk of being referred to ICE.

YES. You can apply for renewal even if your last application was rejected specifically due to not meeting the October 5, 2017, deadline.

We do not know. USCIS’s goal for completing the processing of a DACA renewal application used to be 120 days.

EAD Validity & Employment Rights

Your DACA is valid until it expires. DACA and work permits (employment authorization documents, or EADs) will remain valid until their expiration date. To determine when your DACA and work permit expire, look at your I-795 Approval Notice and the bottom of your EAD.

You do not have an affirmative duty to tell your employer that you have DACA, that DACA has been terminated or rescinded, or that your work authorization has expired or will expire. You are not responsible for raising the subject at all. Once your work permit expires, your employer has an obligation to ask to see your new work permit. As a general matter, we advise workers not to give an employer any more information about their immigration status than is required.

Typically, once you are hired and have completed the I-9 or E-Verify employment eligibility verification process, your employer should not ask to see your work permit or any other identity or employment eligibility verification document again until the time a document you provided expires. When an employer asks to see such a document again, this is called reverification. Your employer may reverify your employment eligibility only under certain circumstances. Your employer may reverify your employment eligibility — and ask to see your document again — if your document is about to expire or has already expired. (For more information about the reverification process in the DACA context, see “The DACA renewal process.”)

If your employer singles you or a certain group of fellow employees out for reverification without having some legitimate reason — such as the expiration of your document — the employer may be engaging in illegal reverification.

Under immigration law, it is unlawful discrimination for an employer to selectively reverify the employment eligibility of certain employees on the basis of their country of origin, citizenship, or type of immigration status. If employers reverify workers, they must treat those workers the same regardless of their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. If the employer treats workers differently, such as by reverifying some of them but not others, the employer’s action could be unlawful.

It is also unlawful for an employer to request more or different documents than are required by the I-9 Form to verify employment eligibility, reject reasonably genuine-looking documents, or require certain documents over others. If your employer is engaging in this kind of unlawful conduct, you can call the free worker hotline at the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Department of Justice at 1-800-255-7688. The IER offers a mediation-type process designed to quickly resolve disputes with employers; if that process fails you may file a formal complaint.

In general, unless you are covered by a union or other employment contract, employment in the U.S. is considered “at will” and an employer can fire an employee at any time, as long as the employer is not impermissibly discriminating or retaliating against you. Thus, even if you do have a valid work permit, your employer may still legally choose to fire you.

The new announcement may cause confusion and some employers may assume work permits of DACA recipients are immediately invalid, rather than valid until expiration. If that’s the situation you’re experiencing, refer your employer to:

DHS Memo on Rescission of DACA

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/memorandum-rescission-daca

DHS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on DACA Rescission

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/frequently-asked-questions-rescission-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca

You or your employer can also call the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section of the Department of Justice at the number listed above.

An employer can call ICE to try and report your immigration status. But ICE is not required to respond to the call. Context can also matter. If the employer made the report because you were engaged in protected activity (like filing a legal claim against the employer, taking protected leave, organizing coworkers to improve working conditions, or some other exercise of your workplace rights), then the report may be unlawful. In limited cases, the employer’s retaliatory reporting may be grounds for a U visa. ICE has also entered into an agreement with various federal labor law enforcement agencies and issued guidance against engaging in investigations or immigration enforcement actions at worksites where an ongoing labor dispute exists or that are being investigated by a federal labor agency. Although these agreements remain in effect, it is unclear how closely they will be followed or implemented by the current administration.

If approached by an immigration officer, you should remember that you do not have to answer questions. You should not run away or give false information. You can ask if you are free to leave and walk away if you are not under arrest. You can say that you want to first consult with an attorney and then seek legal assistance before answering any questions. You can find out more about your rights when stopped by immigration officers here.

If you continue to work for your employer after your work permit has expired, and your employer does not request further proof of your eligibility to work, you will be working without authorization. You do not have an affirmative duty to tell your employer that your work permit has expired if your employer fails to request a new work permit. Your employer may, if and when it realizes your work authorization has expired, terminate your employment at any time.

But if your employer fails to check and you simply continue to work for the same employer after your work permit expires, without making any false statements about your status, eligibility for employment, or identity in order to keep working and without providing any false documents, then, in general, there should be no additional immigration or criminal consequences beyond those you may already be subject to on account of your immigration status. But you should consult a qualified immigration attorney to assess any risks specific to your personal situation.

Your employer may be audited by the Worksite Enforcement Unit of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is responsible for enforcing the law prohibiting unlawful employment. Nationally, ICE targets approximately 1,200 employers for I-9 inspections each year. According to their webpage, DHS’s Worksite Enforcement Unit concentrates its worksite inspection efforts on “employers conducting business in critical infrastructure and national security interest industries/sectors.” If your employer is audited and is found to have knowingly continued to employ you after your authorization to work has ended, your employer may be subject to liability under federal immigration law. Financial penalties for knowingly continuing to employ an unauthorized worker range from $548 to $4,384, per violation, for first time offenders. DHS considers numerous factors in determining financial penalty amounts, including the size of the employer and the history of any previous violations.

Businesses are not required to check if an independent contractor has work authorization. Generally, a Form W-9 is used by businesses for independent contractors. The independent contractor is required to provide his/her correct name and Social Security Number (SSN) on the W-9, although workers who are not eligible for an SSN may instead use an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). If the worker does not have a SSN or ITIN, he/she can apply for an ITIN and in the interim, fill out “Applied For” in the space on the W-9 for the tax identification number and leave the W-9 certification blank.

However, regardless of whether you are an employee or independent contractor, individuals are not permitted to work in the United States without work authorization. Nor may businesses contract for labor with someone who the business knows is unauthorized to work.

Negotiating Benefits and Work If Job is Lost Due to EAD Expiration

Generally, yes, but it may depend on applicable state laws, some of which distinguish between accrued paid vacation and paid sick time and require that you be paid out the vacation, but not the sick time. You will need to check the laws of the state in which you were employed and performed the work to determine precisely which types of accrued paid time off the employer is obligated to pay you upon termination. For more information, see https://www.workplacefairness.org/ and https://www.lawhelp.org/.

No. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, a person must be ready, willing and able to work. If you are not authorized to work, then you cannot meet the requirement of being “able to work”.

Any vested portions of an employer-sponsored retirement account will remain yours after your employment ends. If you have “vested” savings in your employer-sponsored retirement account, when you leave your employment you are entitled to take out all of your contributions and your employer’s contributions to your account. If you have not yet vested, at a minimum you are entitled under law to take out your contributions to the account (but may not be entitled to your employer’s contribution). This assumes you have a “defined contribution” retirement plan, which the vast majority of U.S. private sector employees have. Some private sector employers, and many government agencies, maintain “defined benefit” retirement plans, which will be governed by different rules and you should consult your human resources department or union representative for information about withdrawals under such a plan.

It bears mention that most savings plans do not require that you withdraw the funds in your account when you leave employment. If you leave the savings in your employer-sponsored account, the account will continue to accrue interest but no additional contributions will be made by your employer. If you chose to take out the savings in your account as cash, you will lose a significant amount of your savings due to penalties and taxes. In order to avoid these penalties, you can open your own retirement account such as an Individual Retirement Account (“IRA”) and “roll over” the money from your employer-sponsored account to your personal account.

There are several steps your employer can take to support you as your work authorization ends. These include:

  • severance pay
  • paying out all accrued leave balances (this may be required in certain states, see above)
  • providing you an opportunity to be reinstated to your prior position if you obtain work authorization in the future
  • providing a positive reference, and/or
  • contributing to a legal defense fund in the event you need immigration legal defense in the future

Travel: By Plane, Train and Automobile

Advance parole to travel abroad is no longer available for DACA recipients. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer grant DACA recipients permission to travel abroad through advance parole. Any pending applications for advance parole will not be processed and DHS will refund any associated fees.

Driver’s license rules, including eligibility and document requirements and procedures for renewing a license, vary from state to state. All 50 states allow DACA grantees to get a driver’s license if they are otherwise eligible. In most states, a driver’s license expires when the deferred action grant or work authorization document expires. Depending on the state’s rules, you may need to show new proof that you are lawfully present in the U.S. or have a specific immigration status (other than DACA) when you renew your license.

Twelve states (CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, MD, NV, NM, UT, VT, WA), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico issue driver’s licenses to eligible residents, regardless of their immigration status. About 44 percent of DACA recipients live in a state that issues driver’s licenses to eligible state residents regardless of their immigration status. These states issue at least two types of licenses: a REAL ID license that is acceptable for certain federal purposes, and a non–REAL ID license that cannot be used for these purposes. If you have a REAL ID license from one of these states, you will likely need to apply for a non–REAL ID license when your current license expires. If you already have a non–REAL ID license, you may be able to keep/renew your current license.

You will need to check with your state’s department of motor vehicles for the specific requirements in your state.

Healthcare

If you have health coverage through your employer, you should remain covered as long as you are employed.

If you have health coverage through your spouse’s or partner’s employer, you should remain covered. There are no immigration status requirements for such coverage.

DACA recipients are not eligible for health insurance through the health insurance marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (e.g., Covered California), so the rescission of DACA does not affect their access to ACA plans. Anyone who doesn’t have another source of coverage can buy private health coverage directly from insurance companies and brokers, regardless of their immigration status. However, no financial assistance is available, and coverage can be purchased only during an open enrollment or a special enrollment period.

In California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York, low-income DACA recipients may be eligible for comprehensive health coverage through a state program (e.g., Medi-Cal). In Washington, DACA grantees with disabilities may be eligible for medical coverage. After your DACA expires, you may still be eligible for state health programs. Check back here for updates, or check with a trusted advocacy organization in your state.

Washington, DC, provides health services to all income-qualified residents of the district. You will not lose your health care when your DACA expires.

Many states provide coverage for the treatment of certain diseases, or to certain populations, regardless of an individual’s immigration status. Access to this coverage will not be affected by the rescission of DACA. In most states, low-income DACA recipients’ eligibility for Medicaid coverage is limited to treatment for emergencies, including labor and delivery services. This Medicaid for emergencies is available regardless of an individual’s immigration status and will not change.

In many states, income-qualifying pregnant women are eligible for pregnancy-related services through the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or through a state program, regardless of their immigration status. Services available include prenatal care, labor and delivery services and, in some cases, postpartum care. Access to this program will not be affected by the rescission of DACA.

In the other states, pregnant women whose immigration status makes them ineligible for full-scope Medicaid are eligible for restricted-scope or emergency Medicaid for labor and delivery services. Children born to mothers covered by Medicaid (including restricted scope) are automatically eligible for Medicaid. DACA rescission will not affect eligibility for these programs.

California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington provide full-scope health coverage to all residents under age 19, regardless of immigration status, if they meet the income eligibility requirements for the state Medicaid and/or CHIP program. Washington, DC, provides health services to all income-qualified residents of the district.

Many cities and counties provide health services for their residents who are ineligible for comprehensive coverage, regardless of their immigration status. Access to those programs will not be affected by the rescission of DACA.

In addition, the following health programs are available regardless of immigration status in all states, and remain an option for uninsured immigrants, including people who have DACA or whose DACA expired:

  • Emergency-room care
  • Community health centers and free clinics
  • Public and safety-net hospitals
  • Public health services (immunizations, treatment of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases)
  • Emergency treatment under emergency Medicaid, including labor and delivery for pregnancy
  • Hospital and community health center financial assistance programs (also known as “charity care”)

Higher Education Opportunities

Below is some information about access to higher education for students whose DACA grant has expired. Some answers will vary depending on the state, college, or university system. And some answers could change depending on what your state, institution, or scholarship program decides to do. Advocacy in coordination with your college or university could be very important in ensuring that you and other students can continue your education.

Almost every state allows students, regardless of immigration status, to enroll in public colleges and universities. Alabama and South Carolina are exceptions and do not allow undocumented immigrants to attend public institutions. Advocacy would be needed to try to ensure that students currently enrolled can complete their education.

A few selected colleges in Georgia deny enrollment to students with DACA as well as to undocumented immigrants (thus there would be no change for students losing DACA in that state). In all other states, former DACA grantees should be able to enroll in public colleges and universities.

At least 20 states and the District of Columbia have “tuition equity” laws or policies, allowing students who attended high school for a certain number of years in the state and who meet other criteria to qualify for in-state tuition rates, regardless of their immigration status. About 76 percent of DACA grantees live in a state with a tuition equity law or policy. Former DACA grantees who meet these criteria can continue to pay in-state tuition rates.

DACA grantees in some other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia, have been able to pay in-state tuition rates if they meet the state’s residence criteria. (Litigation on this issue is ongoing in Arizona and Georgia). Individual colleges in some other states also allow DACA grantees to pay in-state tuition. But undocumented immigrants generally are not eligible to pay in-state tuition in these states. Advocacy would be needed to ensure that students already paying in-state rates can continue to do so—or to secure other resources for students who may be charged higher tuition rates. Students could also press these states to adopt tuition equity laws.

Several states, including but not limited to Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, already deny in-state tuition rates to DACA grantees. Eligibility for students losing DACA would not change in these states.

DACA grantees (and former DACA grantees) are not eligible for federal financial aid. However, at least 8 states and the District of Columbia offer state financial aid to students who meet certain criteria, regardless of their immigration status. And universities in some states offer institutional aid or scholarships to students regardless of their status. Former DACA grantees should continue to be eligible for state financial aid in these states or institutions.

Some private scholarships are available to students regardless of status, while others may be available only to DACA grantees and other students who are lawfully present in the U.S. Advocacy would be needed to persuade groups administering these private scholarships to make them available to students regardless of their status—including former DACA grantees.

Preparing Finances and Taxes

As you continue to plan your financial future, we recommend that you remember to do the following:

  • Enlist someone at your job who can pick up your paycheck.
  • Have a list of banks and accounts opened.
  • Have a list of all utilities/bills.
  • Enroll someone in your bank account who can deposit, withdraw, or potentially close your bank account.
  • Start a savings account.
  • Have someone listed on your utility bills who can close accounts and collect deposits.
  • Add someone to your lease who can terminate it if need be and collect deposits.
  • Add someone to your mortgage who can continue making payments on your mortgage, close it, or sell your property for you.
  • Add someone to your car lease who can continue payments, terminate purchase, or sell your vehicle for you.
  • Begin a savings plan immediately even if it’s not much, at least for each month. It might come in handy later.

Once you receive a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration, you must use your SSN for tax filing purposes and discontinue use of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you had previously been issued one. If your work authorization is rescinded, your SSN remains valid for tax purposes, so you should continue to use your SSN for that purpose.

Note that this applies only to a valid SSN that has been assigned to you. You are required to file all your taxes under that single SSN going forward. It is important not to present false information on tax forms—such as filing the return with an SSN that was not assigned to you—as this could affect your immigration case in the future.

If you have questions about tax filing, you can visit a local tax clinic. In general, if you earn less than $54,000 a year, you are eligible for free services at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. You can find a local VITA site here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers.

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