Immigrant advocates, media, and activists have been shouting today’s date for weeks. October 5, 2017, marks the deadline for those who are eligible to renew their participation in DACA to file their paperwork. And as many activists and advocates have warned, tens of thousands didn’t make it in time.
Some 36,000 young people who would have been eligible to renew their DACA participation for one last two-year stretch did not get their applications in, ThinkProgress reported today. The federal government estimated that some 154,000 were eligible.
Renewal applications have been streaming in during the final days before today’s deadline. On October 2, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed to The Nation that it had received 104,000 renewal applications out of a potential 154,000. (The October 5 deadline is a received by, and not a postmarked by, deadline.) By October 4, 111,565 people had filed their renewals, Vox reported.
One month ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration would begin phasing out the program. The move fulfilled one of President Trump’s key campaign promises, and was a major defeat for the immigrant-rights movement. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, extends two-year reprieves from deportation to select undocumented young people while granting them the right to work, go to school, and gain driver’s licenses. It was the marquee victory for immigrants in the Obama era, and a prime target of the Trump administration.
The wind-down is a gradual one, though. The Trump administration allowed those whose DACA is set to expire between September 5 and March 5 four weeks—that is, the last month—to turn in renewal applications to extend their DACA one last time. Anyone whose DACA expires on or after March 6 will have no other chance to extend their status. Because participation in the program is on an individual basis, DACA expiration dates will happen on an individual basis. Every day, some 1,400 people are expected to lose their status.
For many, losing DACA will restrict their ability to move and live freely in the country. “DACA gave me an opportunity to work where I’m not outside,” Oscar Hernandez, a 28-year-old who lives in Houston, told The Nation earlier this year. Hernandez used to work as a landscaper, and had his own business, but through DACA he’s been able to be legally employed by someone else, and today works as an organizer for United We Dream, a national immigrant-youth organization. “Through this job it gave me medical insurance, the opportunity to get an ID, to go to the library, to open a bank account at a credit union.”