Immigration attorneys say DREAMers will be left in limbo

“I feel like I am a U.S. citizen. That’s why I came wrapped in an American flag. This is my flag. This is my country,” said Emmanuel Lopez Rafael, 19, of Mesa. (Photo by Tynin Fries/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX — Arizona immigration attorneys said the six-month winding down of the dreamers’ program leaves thousands in limbo.

What will happen to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children who want to file for DACA is uncertain, said attorney Candia Weaver.

“It is a very frightening way to live,” said Weaver, who specializes in immigration issues said of those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday rescinded the program former President Barack Obama instituted in 2012 by executive order, asking Congress to come up with a legislative plan. The original program will be phased out by March 5, 2018, leaving confusing and contradictory legal questions over what will happen with DREAMers who have already filed for DACA or who plan to file before the program winds down.

Phoenix attorney Alicia Heflin said that those who want DACA protection had to have their applications submitted and received before Tuesday’s ruling. The administration will not consider any new applications.

But another attorney said DREAMers don’t need to have “any immediate fears” of deportation. Matthew Thomas said DREAMers are still entitled to due process and still have the right to an attorney.

“It’s better to have something, than having no documentation whatsoever,” Thomas said of the six-month grace period. DACA being revoked “was probably the best thing” Congress could do under the circumstances.

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Attorney generals from several conservative states had threatened to sue the administration if DACA wasn’t revoked, saying it was instituted illegally.

Steve Kilar, of the Arizona branch the American Civil Liberties Union, said those in DACA who wish to have their work permits renewed can renew them for two years by the deadline on Oct. 5 as long as the permits expire by the time DACA expires on March 5.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the surname of Steve Kilar.