Discussion Points for Punto Legal- January 10, 2018

Discussion Points for Punto Legal- January 10, 2018


1. DACA.

Today, a federal district court in San Francisco issued an order directing Department of Homeland Security to maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis on the same terms and conditions as were in effect before the cancellation of DACA. DACA was cancelled on September 5, 2017. The judge’s order allows DACA beneficiaries to renew their enrollments. But, applicants who have never had DACA cannot now apply for DACA.

This is good to hear, but the Trump administration is expected to appeal quickly, and this court decision will probably end up as another piece to a drawn out legal fight.

If the court decision is not put on hold by a higher court, you are going to have to wait until the immigration service is set back up to receive DACA renewal applications.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump appeared to give a green light to a genuine DREAM Act and even comprehensive immigration reform at a meeting on immigration yesterday.

While nobody knows what the details will be, the idea behind the DREAM Act to move young immigrants who were educated in the U.S. move directly to permanent residence. This question is what anti-immigrant measures will be needed in exchange for a DREAM Act.

2. Salvadoran TPS.

On Jan. 8, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador. There is a delayed effective date-or grace period–of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on Sept. 9, 2019. Although you cannot do so today, TPS holders who want TPS until September 2019 will have to re-register and pay for a new work authorization card.

The bigger question for TPS beneficiaries is: can they fix their papers in the U.S. if they have-now our in the future-a U.S. child who is over 21? We urge anyone with TPS to travel to El Salvador with an advance travel document and return to the U.S. If you do so, legal magic occurs. You are deemed to have been paroled into the U.S. “Parole” opens the door to you fixing your papers in the U.S. Now if you have already traveled and returned to the U.S., you do not have to do so again.

Now let me give you an example. Yancy is a 41-year-old woman from El Salvador. She came to the U.S. illegally in 1996. She has two U.S.-born kids who are 21 and 19. After 1996, she never left the U.S. She asks her 21-year-old to file an immigration petition for her. She then gets an advance travel document, travels, and returns to the U.S. When she returns, she can fix her papers in the U.S. Previously, she did not have the right to fix her papers in the U.S.

Many immigration attorneys believe that Yancy should not have to go to so much trouble. They think that the TPS law itself allows TPS holders to fix their papers in the U.S. Unfortunately, the immigration service does not. But, two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal also believe you can become a permanent resident in the U.S. These are the 6th and 9th Circuits. If Yancy wanted to move to a state within these circuits, she could fix her papers through her 21-year-old child without having to travel in order to obtain “parole.” These states in include Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, Arizona, and California.

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