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DACA Now Slightly Less Likely To Be Thrown Out By Supreme Court!
We're still really gonna need Congress to pass the DREAM Act!
For a decade now, some 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children have been kept safe from deportation and allowed to apply for work permits thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum issued by the Obama administration in 2012. Unfortunately, despite the program's popularity (supported by 66 percent of the country off the bat and 71 percent once they were fully informed about what DACA actually is), there have been numerous challenges to it — one of which has led to an injunction barring the consideration of any new applications to the program. Donald Trump even tried to get rid of it entirely .
The Biden administration on Wednesday fortified DACA by replacing the 2012 memo issued by former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano with a final rule that had been subjected to public comment, and which will go into effect on October 31. Of the more than 16,000 public comments on the rule, only three percent were opposed.
The hope is that this more official guidance can help the program stand against the current lawsuits against it so that people who have made their lives and their homes here since childhood are not suddenly uprooted and tossed into a country where they don't know anyone and possibly don't even speak the language.
“Today, we are taking another step to do everything in our power to preserve and fortify DACA, an extraordinary program that has transformed the lives of so many Dreamers,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement on Wednesday. “Thanks to DACA, we have been enriched by young people who contribute so much to our communities and our country. Yet, we need Congress to pass legislation that provides an enduring solution for the young Dreamers who have known no country other than the United States as their own.”
It's a far from perfect solution, and is mostly just intended to preserve the status quo for those who have already enrolled in the program, as well as keep DACA from being overturned entirely. Texas and several other states have been filing lawsuits for years alleging that DACA has caused them irreparable financial harm due to having had to provide social services to these immigrants, who have jobs and pay taxes just like everyone else here. While these states have never actually been able to prove any actual harm, a Texas judge ordered the Biden administration to stop issuing DACA permits last year on the grounds that President Obama lacked the authority to create such a policy through a memorandum, and while that decision is being appealed in the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, there is still an injunction against issuing new permits.
The court has been expected to rule against DACA, and should that occur, Todd Schulte of the immigration advocacy group FWD.us says that over 5,000 DACA recipients would lose their ability to work and potentially be deported every week for the next two years.
The final rule sticks very closely to the original 2012 legislation and does not update the eligibility requirements — meaning that the only people eligible to apply for DACA protections are those who have continuously resided in the United States since 2007 and were under the age of 31 in 2012.
Immigration activists argue that it doesn't go far enough, and the fact is, it doesn't. It won't and it can't until we get some congressional action to truly codify DACA by passing the DREAM Act, which is supported by 74 percent of the American public. Even 54 percent of Republicans think it would be messed up to punish people who were brought here as children, by their parents, by deporting them to countries where, again, they may not know anyone and may not even speak the language. Republicans in Congress, however, say they support DREAMers in the hypothetical but won't support the DREAM Act as it stands because they don't want to create an earned path to citizenship and won't support any legislation of this kind that doesn't also include "border protections."
At this point though, it's going to be important to do whatever the hell can be done to protect these people, just in case future elections do not turn out the way we would like.
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