The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will no longer accept or process new or renewal applications for DACA protection, even if they were mailed before the deadline. The renewed applicants are known as “Dreamers”.
Thousands of Caribbean nationals are believed to be DACA recipients.
Of the estimated 154,000 people who were eligible to apply for renewals, about 118,000 had sent in applications to the three federal processing centers in Phoenix, Dallas and Chicago by Oct. 4, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Officials will only process applications received by the end of the day Oct. 5, and will not consider forms postmarked on Oct. 5 but arriving later, said David Lapan, spokesman for the Homeland Security Department.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of beneficiaries, alleging that, even before its DACA phase-out, the Trump administration had been revoking beneficiaries’ protections for minor offenses, like traffic infractions, or charges for which they are ultimately cleared.
Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy at the ACLU, said the Oct. 5 deadline was “both cruel and arbitrary.”
Last month, a U.S. federal judge in Brooklyn described as “heartless” the Trump administration’s refusal to extend its deadline for “Dreamers” to apply to stay in the U.S.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last month that immigrants shielded from deportation by DACA would have until Oct. 5 to re-apply for their two-year protected status. Reports indicated the Trump administration stuck with the deadline.
U.S. Justice Department lawyer Brett Shumate said the decision to stick with the deadline was “not made lightly,” adding that the purpose was to kick off an “orderly wind down” of the program.
But Judge Garaufis said DACA’s end would not only affect its estimated 800,000 recipients – it would affect their families, employers and communities as well.