As Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Tuesday, 8,000 young people living, working and going to school in Connecticut were left wondering what comes next for them.
The Obama-era program protected youth who arrived in the United States illegally as children from deportation and allowed them to get work permits.
Gaby Valdiglesias, a college freshman and DACA recipient who graduated this year from West Hartford's Hall High School, said the termination of the program, "makes me feel hopeless because I can't be certain of my future."
For those anticipating what Sessions' announcement means for their future, Sister Mary Ellen Burns of Apostle Immigrant Services in New Haven has the details.
1. If you had DACA yesterday morning, you still have it today.
Though Sessions' announcement may have seemed immediate, DACA recipients have protection until their expiration dates.
"The No. 1 thing is that everyone who has DACA, who had DACA yesterday, they are still protected from deferred action and they still have work permits," Burns said.
To determine when your DACA and work permit expire, check your I-795 Approval Notice and the bottom of your employment authorization document.
2. DACA Renewals And First-Time Application Are Still Being Processed
For renewal or first-time DACA applicants, pending applications sent before Tuesday will still be processed.
"If the application is still pending, they will process it and approve it, unless there's an issue, and it'll come with work authorization and protection from removal," Burns said.
If approved, these DACA applications or renewals will be good for another two years.
3. New First-Time DACA Applications Aren't Being Accepted
If you were going to apply for DACA for the first time this week, expect your application to be returned, Burns said.
The Trump administration announced that it will no longer accept new applications. On the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, a large notice posted Tuesday that after Tuesday new applications won't be accepted.
4. No More Permission To Travel Abroad
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will no longer grant DACA recipients permission to travel abroad through advance parole. Burns said the application fees of pending requests will be refunded.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has said that DACA recipients with already approved advance parole will "generally" be allowed to re-enter the U.S. But if your travel application is still pending or you were planning to apply, it won't be accepted.
For those planning to travel with advanced parole already approved, Burns advises seeking legal advice first.
"The fact that you have this document doesn't mean they'll let you back in," Burns said. "I wouldn't advise it personally; I'd consult a reliable immigration attorney or a nonprofit recognized by the government to get a fuller idea of the risk you are taking leaving the country."
5. DACA Recipients Whose Status Expires Before March 5 Can Renew
If your DACA status is set to expire before March 5, you can apply before Oct. 5 for renewal. The renewal will be active for two years.
"I am not saying everyone should do that, they might have reasons not to, but it is a window that is closing and people whose DACA is renewing after March 5 do not have that option," Burns said.
For those looking for more guidance, Apostle Immigrant Services will host two information sessions this week, including one on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and another on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at its New Haven office at 81 Saltonstall Ave.