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While DACA’s March 2018 Deadline Gets All the Attention, The Real Deadline for Many is October 5th, 2017

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President Trump’s cruel decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has also sparked rampant misunderstanding about the deadlines and time pressures facing current DACA recipients.

While most observers are paying attention to the six month deadline on March 5, 2018, the most pressing deadline facing a quarter of the 800,000 DACA beneficiaries isOctober 5, 2017, less than one month away. What’s more, approximately 200,000 teenagers and pre-teens who were looking forward to participating in DACA once they turned sixteen have absolutely no recourse.

In responding to a manufactured deadline set by Texas and ending DACA this week, DHS created a whole new series of artificial deadlines. For current DACA recipients whose work permit and status expires on or before March 5, 2018, renewal applications have to be submitted and in the hands of DHS by October 5, 2017.

The impact of this arbitrary deadline could be significant. Some 200,000 DACA beneficiaries have to pull together $495 to pay the fee and fill out paperwork perfectly in less than a month in order to gain renewal. If they don’t know about the new deadline, or can’t raise the funds, or get anything in the application wrong, they will be out of luck. The fallout could begin as early as October.

In addition, applications for those “aging in” to DACA have been eliminated already. This means that around two hundred thousand pre-teens and teenagers who were expecting to qualify for DACA have just had that door slammed shut in their faces.

President Trump tweeted this morning, “For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!”

Below, read more of the Vox explainer from Dara Lind, which adds important context and clarity to the DACA deadlines and implications and why President Trump’s tweet is misinformed:

The Department of Homeland Security’s plan to wind down DACA is a lot more complicated than just theMarch 5 “deadline.” It’s not punting DACA for six months; it’s taking steps, over the next six months, to end the program on March 5.

For immigrants who were eligible for DACA, but hadn’t applied — or who were under 15 years old (the minimum age to apply for DACA), but would have qualified when they turned 15 — DACA is essentially already over. The government isn’t accepting any applications for initial protection under DACA that it received after September 5.

Immigrants who are currently protected by DACA, but whose protections are set to expire before the March 5 “deadline,” are theoretically in much better position under the government’s plan. They have the opportunity to apply for one last two-year renewal of their deportation protection and work permits, meaning they could remain protected by DACA into the early months of 2020.

But there’s a huge catch. They have to apply by October 5, 2017 — a month after the announcement. Any renewal applications received after that point won’t be accepted, and they’ll simply lose DACA when the expiration date on their current work permit arrives.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

The crisis affecting those with DACA and those who would have applied for DACA is upon us. The arbitrary deadline imposed by DHS on new applicants (September 5th) and renewals (October 5th) is already having a huge impact on immigrants who grew up in America and want only to work legally, attend college and live without fear of being deported.

Without immediate action to support those applying for renewals or a reconsideration of, at a minimum, the October 5th deadline by the Administration, tens of thousands of Dreamers will be sent back into the shadows and exposed to deportation in a matter of weeks. Tens of thousands of teenagers and pre-teens who were about to become eligible have already had the DACA door slammed in their faces. President Trump, and leaders from both parties, having expressed their desire to fix this before the six month window closes, need to know and need to act now.