DACA Termination Comes to a Standstill

A single federal judge has struck a blow to President Trump’s effort to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

DACA was an immigration policy that gave kids who were brought illegally to the United States of America, a chance to live the American dream. The Dreamers were able to receive a renewable two-year period in which they cannot be deported, and are also eligible to receive a work permit. This policy was established by the Obama administration in the summer of 2012.

In September of 2017, President Trump ordered an end to DACA, at the time of the statement there were roughly around 700,000 dreamers.

On Tuesday, January 9, 2018, Judge William Alsup issued an injunction telling the Trump administration to start the DACA program up. Judge Alsup stated, “Previous beneficiaries of DACA must be allowed to renew their status.”

This does not mean that the administration will start to accept new DACA applications. It is also noted that the administration could prevent DACA recipients from returning to the U.S. if they leave the country.

Judge Alsup’s ruling is, “An affirmation of the principle that no one is above the law,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a telephone interview. “We said it from the very beginning,” he continues, “Donald Trump and this administration did not follow the rules in trying to abandon the DACA program.”

Judge Alsup said his ruling does not apply to dreamers who are in high school and had hoped to apply for DACA protections for the first time this year.

Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department said, “Tonight’s order doesn’t change the Department of Justice’s position on the facts: DACA was implemented unilaterally after Congress declined to extend these benefits to this same group of illegal aliens. As such, it was an unlawful circumvention of Congress, and was susceptible to the same legal challenges that effectively ended DACA.”

An appeal seems likely, but if it does get appealed it is likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, keeping the dreamers in a state of uncertainty.

The nation is divided between the opposing views, the divide is also present in an unlikely group; there are dreamers on both sides of the argument.

Jesus Diaz, a dreamer who came into the U.S at only two years old says, “Most of the dreamers were given enough time to fix their status, and now the free ride is over; anyone can achieve the American dream regardless of immigration status.” Jesus Diaz is a CSUMB alumni with a degree in Business Administration and currently works at a CPA firm.

As a tax professional, you need to be very careful to make sure your DACA tax clients have active employment authorization cards. An active employment authorization card allows the DACA recipient to legally work in the US and claim certain tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). As part of your due diligence, you should ask to see this employment card along with the social security (SS) card. The SS card should read “valid for work only with DHS authorization.” Publication 3535 is a great resource which covers which SS cards you can use to claim EITC.

The future is uncertain, but no matter the outcome, lives will be changed. If DACA is terminated will the Trump administration deport almost 700,000 people? Immigration activists estimate that almost 15,000 people have lost DACA protection since President Trump announced the end of DACA back in September. These 15,000 are still amongst us. Working, learning, and paying their taxes.