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Future of DACA remains uncertain under Trump administration

Undocumented immigrants in Arizona and other states who entered the United States as children may be interested in knowing more about a pending presidential decision regarding the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. President Trump, who must announce his decision before Sept. 5, is considering ending the policy, according to multiple news sources. However, one senior administration official cautions that the president could change his mind.

Initiated by the Obama administration, DACA offers certain protections for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday and subsequently lived here continuously for a minimum of five consecutive years. To qualify as a DREAMer, each individual must also meet additional age and educational requirements and have no criminal convictions on record.

Of value to immigrants, DACA eliminates the fear of deportation and issues work authorizations. It does not appear likely that any wide-scale deportation of DACA beneficiaries would immediately occur upon cancellation of the program because the requisite mechanism is not in place. As the deadline for the president's decision approaches, it is not known how previously issued DACA work authorizations will be addressed.

Bills introduced in mid-2017 in both the Senate and House could ultimately benefit immigrants who are currently protected under DACA. However, these bills have not yet been passed, and controversy over immigration and discussions concerning the unresolved fate of the DACA program have continued to garner air time.

Residents of Arizona who want to obtain legal immigration status for themselves or their families may find it beneficial to discuss their particular situations with an attorney who practices immigration law. The attorney could advise clients regarding their eligibility for employment-based or family-based immigration and potentially help each party navigate the legal process.

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