On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA"). Many public charter school students, families, and staff are directly impacted by DACA and the Administration's decision to end the program. With the decision to end DACA, TCSA's Board of Directors stands in support of federal legislation that protects children and families' livelihood and opportunities.
Though TCSA anticipates further updates in the coming months, in an effort to assist your school communities, TCSA Legal provides the following guidance relating to DACA and serving undocumented students, families, and employees. We encourage each school to talk with legal counsel if they have specific concerns.
What is DACA?
The Obama Administration first implemented DACA in June of 2012. DACA allowed children who came to the United States, and met certain requirements, to request a renewable, two (2) year deferred action from deportation. Once an individual received DACA status they became eligible for work authorization and participation in the Social Security Program.
Eligibility requirements for DACA can be reviewed on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. These requirements are archived, as they are no longer current.
How does the repeal of DACA affect current DACA recipients?
The Trump Administration's announcement to rescind DACA includes a six (6) month delay, and will not take effect until March 5, 2018. However, those with current DACA status may be able to renew prior to October 5, 2017. The Department of Homeland Security allows for a DACA recipient with current DACA status that expires between October 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, to submit an application to renew for another two (2) year period. Individuals must submit all renewal applications by October 5, 2017. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security will process all applications for DACA status received prior to September 5, 2017.
For DACA recipients whose status expires after March 5, 2018, unfortunately, an individual will become eligible for deportation at the time of expiration. An individual who currently has DACA status and work authorization may continue work until their DACA status and work authorization expires.
More information regarding important deadlines and applications can be found on the Department of Homeland Security's website.
What does the repeal mean for other undocumented students?
Students previously eligible for DACA status, but have not applied will no longer be able to apply for DACA status as of September 5, 2017. However, undocumented students still have a right to attend school regardless of their immigration status. Schools may not request immigration documentation and must admit a student regardless of status. For more information regarding the educational rights of undocumented students, see TCSA's legal memorandum regarding serving undocumented students.
What can schools do to support undocumented students with or without DACA status?
In addition to ensuring students receive all services they are entitled to, such as free and reduced lunch programs, and special education, schools may provide students, families and employees with resources regarding changes to the DACA program. Resources may include FAQs about DACA, information to contact immigration organizations for assistance, and provide informational sessions on campus. However, all materials provided to students, families, and employees must first be approved by the school's administration to ensure the material is neutral and informational only.
Additionally, schools providing information about legislation considered by the United States Congress may count as lobbying. Prior to sending any material out encouraging staff or families to contact their legislators, the school should ensure they are following school policies, tracking all resources used, and ensure that staff and family members contact legislators on their own time with their own resources. Schools may learn more about lobbying activities by reviewing the TCSA Advocacy FAQ.
Other resources include:
When making changes or adopting new policies to address the needs of undocumented students, we encourage schools to work with legal counsel to ensure policies are consistent with current and changing law. If there are any policy or statute changes affecting the rights of undocumented students in public school, TCSA will provide additional updates. Please contact me with any questions.