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The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a June 15, 2012 Memorandum . In the Memorandum, the DHS “announced that certain individuals without a lawful immigration status who were brought to the United States as children and met other criteria would be considered for relief from removal for two years.”

After President Donald Trump was inaugurated, the future of the DACA program became uncertain. In February of 2017, the Congressional Research Service prepared a report for members and committees of Congress concerning the status of the program. The report answers questions about both DACA and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. It also addresses the relationship between DACA and the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, legislation that has been introduced in past Congresses and never enacted.

On September 5, 2017, Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, released a Memorandum on Rescission of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This memorandum “rescinds the June 15, 2012 memorandum” and instructs Department of Homeland Security personnel to “take all appropriate actions to execute a wind-down of the program, consistent with the parameters established in this memorandum.”

Advice for Immigrant Families in Massachusetts 

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, in collaboration with 10 other organizations, has prepared a packet of information to help immigrant families prepare for an emergency –  for example, the detaining or deportation of a parent. The packet, called “Advice for Immigrant Families”, includes information on how to fill out a caregiver authorization affidavit pursuant to Mass. General Laws, Chapter 201F.  The form for the affidavit, which authorizes a designated caregiver to act relative to a minor’s education and health care, is included in the packet together with a sample completed form.

Links to more information about immigrants’ rights, planning for a family emergency, DACA, healthcare, and education rights is available at MassachusettsLegalHelp: Immigration, also produced by the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.

The office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts provides guidance on “Information for Health Care Providers regarding Immigration Enforcement”  , “Rights and Obligations of Schools in Response to ICE Requests for Access or Information” , and “Equal Access to Public Education to All Students Regardless of Immigration Status”.

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)  has a membership that includes community-based groups, social service organizations, ethnic associations, schools, refugee resettlement agencies, health centers, hospitals, religious institutions, unions and law firms. A map showing the location of member organizations provides a way to find help in specific local communities.

In Western Massachusetts, the ACLU Immigrant Protection Project of Western Massachusetts  is a coordinated regional effort by attorneys and organizations to provide immigrants in Western Massachusetts with referrals for legal assistance and connections to other services. Contact information is available on their website.

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