While Donald Trump has been some unclear on many of his proposals with regards to dealing with undocumented immigrants, he has repeatedly said that he will kill DACA. So obviously, time will tell, but if you are a DREAMer (whether with or without DACA), here are a few things to know:
- President Donald Trump does not have to do anything to abolish DACA. By simply not renewing Obama's DACA executive order, it will die on its own on January 20, 2017. As of that moment, your protection from deportation will disappear, your employment authorization document (EAD) will become invalid, and you will no longer be able to work legally. Since the Social Security number is just a number and it is given to you for your life (even if you leave America and never come back), it is yours to keep but it is meaningless.
- It is likely that your employer may not fully understand that your EAD has become invalid (the authorities will typically do not track them down and let them know and many employers will simply be unaware of the unique situation of DACA recipients), so you might be able to keep your job as long as it is valid, but that will be against the law and may come to hurt you in the future. Using an EAD without authorization will create a huge paper trail at several agencies and if you hope to legalize yourself, it will come to bite you.
- Will you be prioritized for deportation? It is not clear how this will play out but now the US Government and all the other agencies have your complete information and fingerprints. It is going to be a lot easier to track you down. And if you are arrested for offenses unrelated to being present illegally, a fingerprint will clearly show that you are also without legal status in the US.
What are your options now?
It is very clear that during next four years, even if President Donald Trump does nothing to actually start deporting aliens who are present illegally, he can definitely make life harder. There is no chance that any so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform or amnesty will pass through Congress (at least till 2018, Republicans will control both houses of Congress). In other words, you will need to go back to working under the table. It is very likely that eVerify may not be used by all employers and many American employers like to hire illegal immigrants so that they can pay them lower wages and avoid taxation.
DACA approved DREAMers who exploited the advanced parole (AP) loophole to clear their entry without inspection (EWI) problem still have time till 1/20/2017 to try to adjust their status through marriage. It will be a lot harder to so after that data so if you do have a relationship with a citizen but not yet married, it is time to get married and file the paperwork.
Obviously, a lot of smart, educated DREAMers have already returned to their countries to take advantage of their American education and English language skills. It is definitely a good time to consider this because American public opinion is clearly not in favor of an amnesty. However, unless Trump really ramps up deportation,
illegal immigrants can continue to live in the shadows and work in the underground economy.