by Mo Goldman – Immigration Attorney
In an era where Trump and his supporters constantly scream “fake news” and decry alternate facts, they don’t seem to have a problem with it when it is for their own political cover. One of the most recent examples is today when Senator Martha McSally posted on Facebook about the failed Republican “compromise” bill. In her Facebook post she claims that their proposal would offer “legal status” for those recipients of DACA and TPS. Wrong! While this may seem like a minor distinction, it’s not and it’s terribly misleading to the public. DACA and TPS recipients undergo periodic vetting and have to file an application with a fee for temporary legal protection from deportation, also known as “deferred status”.
On the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, they provide an FAQ about DACA and clearly note in the first question it’s NOT legal status and can be terminated at anytime in the discretion of the agency:
Q1: What is deferred action?
A1: Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer a removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. For purposes of future inadmissibility based upon unlawful presence, an individual whose case has been deferred is not considered to be unlawfully present during the period in which deferred action is in effect. An individual who has received deferred action is authorized by DHS to be present in the United States, and is therefore considered by DHS to be lawfully present during the period deferred action is in effect. However, deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual, nor does it excuse any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence. Under existing regulations, an individual whose case has been deferred is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” DHS can terminate or renew deferred action at any time, at the agency’s discretion.
Words matter and the correct legal terminology does, as well, especially when dissecting the public statements of our appointed officials.
DACA and TPS recipients, amongst many others should be provided legal status with a pathway to citizenship. The current Republican and White House proposals are far from being negotiable.