The Trump Administration recently announced that it will terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects an upward of 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors from deportation.
Effective immediately, no new DACA applications will be processed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). But how the administration will end the program on a large scale remains unclear.
Although the fate of almost a million DACA recipients remains dire, rest assured that whether you’re a DACA recipient or not, you still have unalienable rights and protections under the U.S. constitution.
Here’s what you need to know about DACA provisions and your rights as a recipient in this disorienting time:
1. You can still apply to renew your DACA or work permit by October 5, 2017.
Any current DACA and work permits will remain valid until their expiration dates, but if your work permit or DACA is set to expire by March 5, 2018, you must apply for a two-year renewal by October 5, 2017, according to Here To Stay.
Any permits that expire after March 5, 2018 without an application for renewal before October 5 will not be renewed.
If your work permit expiration date is approaching, your employer may request for an updated permit but cannot terminate you, place you on leave, or change your work status until after it expires, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
2. Your Social Security Number (SSN) is valid for life.
Even if your work permit or DACA approval expires, your Social Security Number (SSN) will always be valid. An SSN is important for accessing things like education, housing and banking, so be sure to to apply for a SSN while your DACA status and work permits are still valid.
3. If approached by ICE or law enforcement, you have the right not to speak.
If stopped by ICE agents or law enforcement, you have the right not to speak to anyone or answer any questions under the fifth amendment.
If ICE approaches you at your home, they must have a signed warrant by a judge in order to enter. If they cannot present you with a valid warrant (it must have the correct name and address on it), then you are not obligated to let them in.
4. You have the right to legal counsel if detained.
You can simply state, “I need to speak to my attorney,” according to the National Immigration Law Center.
No one can force you to sign anything either without your attorney present, and you can refuse to do so until you get access to legal counsel.
5. Carry a “Know Your Rights” card with you.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center provides a “red card”, or a “Know Your Rights” card, for undocumented folks to assert their rights when facing ICE agents or law enforcement. The card says that you wish to remain silent and speak to a lawyer.
Make sure to carry a card like this with you at all times in case you are stopped by law enforcement. You can download and print a copy of the ILRC’s card here.