WASHINGTON -- For the 800,000 people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Thursday is the last day to renew their applications.
President Donald Trump's decided to end the program in March, to force Congress to pass immigration reform legislation.
If Congress does not reach an agreement, 300,000 people could begin to lose their status in 2018, and more than 320,000 would lose their status from January to August 2019.
NPR reports there has been a surge of more than 100,000 DACA recipients who have applied to renew their temporary, two-year work permits for what could be the last time. DACA benefits for applicants who apply by Thursday will expire in summer of 2019.
The DACA program was launched in 2012 by former President Obama to protect children whose parents brought them into America illegally. The program does not make recipients citizens, but it does allow them to work legally in the United States.
If Congress does not reach a decision, remaining DACA protections will last until the immigrant's application expires. At that point, the recipient will lose his or her work authorization, and they will be subject to the same treatment as an illegal immigrant.