Uncertainty About DACA's Future Leads to Drop in Renewal Applications

Oct 29, 2019

The US Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments next month in a case that could determine the fate of the nearly 700,000 individuals protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

North Carolina is among the ten states with the highest number of DACA recipients. A US Citizen and Immigration Services spokesperson says there are more than 24,480 individuals receiving DACA benefits in the state.

Those protections include things like a driver’s license, permission to work, and a social security number. 

"What I hear from clients is that they really do feel more part of the community than they ever have before,” Shoshana Fried, director of the Justice for All program at Pisgah Legal Services, said.

Fried says as DACA’s fate hangs in limbo, clients are coming to her with fears about losing those protections. 

"And then obviously even worse what will happen if they’re not allowed to stay here anymore because the program is canceled? These are young adults that have lived  in the United States for most of their lives."

It’s also lead to hesitation about whether to reapply for the program at all. The USCIS says as of June, only 27 percent of recipients nationwide filed for renewal for benefits that expire by the end of this month. 

Those protected by DACA, known as “dreamers,” have been living in limbo since Sept. 2017, when Pres. Donald Trump ordered his administration to stop renewing the temporary work permits. The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in a DACA case next month.

Fried says she’s encouraging individuals to talk with an attorney about their cases to determine whether reapplying is a good idea.

Pisgah Legal is a business sponsor of BPR.