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The Controversy Surrounding DACA

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has dominated the news for months, especially since September 2017, when the Trump administration announced its plans to begin eliminating it. The controversy has even gone so far as to cause a government shutdown as Democrats and Republicans have been unable to reach a compromise.


DACA protects non-citizens who were brought to the United States by their parents as children from being deported as adults. It was created by the Obama administration in 2012 for people who came to the country as young children and have lived most of their lives in the United States. Currently, about 700,000 people have sought protection under the program. Eligibility for protection under the DACA program requires that people:

  • Renew their application every 2 years
  • Arrived in the U.S. before age 16
  • Have lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Were not over the age of 30 when DACA was enacted in 2012
  • Provide proof of education
  • Prove their identities through background and fingerprint tests
  • Pay a fee of $495 for filing and tests (as well as for every renewal)
  • Do not have a serious criminal history


The 2016 election highlighted the controversy surrounding President Obama’s program, with some claiming that the Obama administration had no right to create and enforce such a program as that is the authority of Congress. The argument by the Trump administration to rescind DACA is that it is unconstitutional and would have no legal standing in court because it was never signed into law by Congress. President Trump allowed Congress a period of six months (from September until March) to fix the current immigration laws to include DACA to prevent currently protected individuals from losing their ability to work, study, and live in the U.S.


In the last few weeks, President Trump and the Department of Justice appealed the judge’s decision and asked the Supreme Court to expedite the process and decide on the issue of DACA. Though the Supreme Court has agreed to speed up the process of filing the paperwork for both sides of the issue, according to USA TODAY, it has yet decided whether or not to hear the case. If it does, however, the case could be heard in the spring of 2018.


As immigration policies rapidly transform under the Trump administration, it is important that non-citizens consult an experienced immigration attorney who will inform them of their legal rights and available pathways to legal residence or citizenship. The New York City immigration lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP are experienced in handling a variety of immigration matters. For more information about our comprehensive services or to schedule a consultation, contact our New York City immigration law office at (212) 267-2129.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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