A DREAM Deferred: From DACA to Citizenship (Appleseed Report)

A DREAM Deferred: From DACA to Citizenship (Appleseed Report)

"This report analyzes an executive policy called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (“DACA”) and uses lessons gained from DACA applicants and practitioners to discuss potential future immigration programs. ... 

To understand what the DACA experience can tell national policy makers and advocates about the drafting and implementation of future immigration programs, Appleseed surveyed practitioners and applicants in cities across the United States during the course of several months in 2013. The questions asked covered a diverse range of topics concerning DACA, including trends in the DACA caseload, strengths and challenges of the DACA application, and the fears and hopes of DACA applicants. ... 

Key findings from our interviews are summarized below, as well as their implications for future programs intended to provide legal status to the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. ...

Appleseed calls upon the bar, the philanthropic community and the government to make every effort to ensure that future applicants have the assistance of counsel in making their applications. How?
- Major law firms, in concert with NGOs, should organize clinics where pro bono counsel could run clinics and assist potential applicants.
- Immigration counsel should provide “low bono” or reduced fee services to those who cannot afford counsel.
- Grants for nonprofit justice centers proposed in the RPI program are a step in the right direction.
- USCIS should consider working with state bar associations that require continuing legal education credits to offer CLE credit for the provision of pro bono service to advise and assist persons considering filing DACA, DREAMer or RPI applications.
- Creative programs that allow for matching of pro bono counsel to clients remotely, and “meeting” by email or other electronic means should be expanded to meet the needs of millions of potentially eligible persons, especially the rural populations identified repeatedly in our interviews as needing legal services.
- Bar rules should be adjusted, if necessary, to allow for limited scope representation, unbundled legal services, volunteer lawyer for a day programs, and pro se clinics staffed by trained lawyers who could provide assistance to potential applicants.
In sum, we need to have an integrated strategy of outreach and organizing, communications, policy and law to provide high-stakes, high-quality legal advice and assistance to help on a grand and historic scale." - Betsy Cavendish, President, Appleseed, and Steven Schulman, Amjad Mahmood Khan, and Erica Abshez, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Pro Bono Counsel to Appleseed, June 2014.