Friday, December 3, 2021

Biden Administration Moves to Protect DACA

Today, the Biden administration plans to publish a proposed rule to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented people from deportation and allows them to work in the U.S.

The proposal is especially significant due to a recent decision by the Senate parliamentarian to not allow immigration provisions to be included in a budget bill, which Democrats had hoped would put DREAMers on a path to citizenship. The new rule would go into effect after the administration considers public input during a 60-day comment period. It would protect about 700,000 DREAMers from being deported or losing their work permits, even if Congress does not pass a comprehensive immigration reform.

The 205-page rule “is basically an effort to bulletproof the DACA program from litigation challenges. While Democrats try to find other ways to provide a path to a green card for Dreamers. The proposed rule could be a temporary safety net for Dreamers if legislation fails,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell Law School.

In July, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston ruled that DACA was unlawful while arguing that former President Obama had exceeded his authority when he created it in 2012. He further wrote current DACA recipients would not be immediately affected by his ruling, and that the federal government should not “take any immigration, deportation or criminal action” against them that it “would not otherwise take.” Since this ruling, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has continued to accept renewals but has not approved any new applications.

Democrats had hoped to include a path to citizenship for DREAMers and 7 million other undocumented people living in the U.S. in the $3.5-trillion budget bill. However, after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that those measures did not belong in the bill, Democrats are preparing backup plans.

One would update the immigration registry, a process for extending legal permanent residence to immigrants based on their longstanding presence in the country. The measure would benefit many DREAMers. Bruna B. Sollod, Communications Director for United We Dream, a national advocacy group stated, “We know that DACA is not permanent — and it’s not enough. Millions of immigrants continue to live in fear and in threat of detention and deportation, which is why we need Democrats to deliver citizenship through reconciliation this year.”

The New York Times