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What Now? Here's What DACA Recipients Should Know

What does the end of DACA in six months mean for those who are part of the program? Here are a few things to know.
Image: Allison Agsten of Los Angeles stands with supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program during a rally outside the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California
Allison Agsten of Los Angeles stands with supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program during a rally outside the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles on Sept. 5, 2017.Kyle Grillot / Reuters

WASHINGTON -- The shutdown of DACA – the program that has let hundreds of thousands of young people to stay in the U.S. and work – will leave a mix of circumstances for the young people who have it.

Some will be able to renew their DACA and others will never get to have the experience.

Benjamin Jacinto, 25, of Ohio, has been in the U.S. for 19 years and just renewed his DACA for another two years.

“I’m set for two years, but what’s after that?” Jacinto said.

Other DACA recipients have pending applications or their benefits are scheduled to expire soon. Some have been trying to save to apply or are just now coming of age to apply.

The mixture of situations there leaves plenty of room for confusion for each DACA-eligible individuals or DACA recipient.

Simply put, the president has set up rolling expirations of DACA that would begin March 6, 2018 unless Congress steps in, said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

“There are no more new applications. All those who haven’t filed, are in trouble,” Saenz said.

Related: Tears, Anger and a Promise To Fight Back as Trump Ends DACA

He added that there are many reasons people may not have applied, such as not having the money for the application cost, needing legal consultation or fearing what the government would do with their identifying information submitted with an application.

“These are very, very worthy and very qualifying folks … They are now out in the cold,” he said.

Here is a breakdown of the Trump decision and what people should know:

Some DACA recipients won’t lose their DACA on March 5, 2018: People who have DACA now and whose DACA doesn’t expire until after March 5, 2018, will continue to have DACA and the work permit that comes with it until the expiration date of their DACA.

It's too late to apply for DACA: The president ended the program so from Wednesday (Sept. 6) on no more applications for DACA are being accepted.

A deadline that shouldn't be missed: People whose DACA expired Tuesday or will expire Wednesday through March 5, 2018, can renew their DACA, but they must apply by Oct. 5.

The ball is in Congress’ court - or Trump's?: Between now and March 5, 2018, Congress can draft legislation to revive DACA, come up with a substitute or even do away with what the administration has put in place. Some opponents of DACA disagreed with the program being authorized by the president, but may support a congressionally created program. Late Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he may "revisit" the DACA issue if Congress doesn't act.

Legal challenges could play a role: There’s always a possibility of a court case. President Donald Trump came up with the DACA phase out plan under threat of legal action by a group of state officials. A young immigrant and immigration group filed a lawsuit in New York Tuesday challenging Trump’s action. There could also be discrimination lawsuits as a result.

Jacinto, the DACA recipient from Ohio, is one of the luckier people because he recently renewed and his DACA expiration date still is a couple of years away, but he took little comfort in that.

“Thanks to DACA, my wife and I became homeowners; we have a boy and a baby girl on the way, so I feel frightened of the circumstances that could happen,” Jacinto said. “I’m set for two years, what’s after that?”

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