On August 24, the Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The rule continues the DACA program as announced in the 2012 Napolitano Memorandum. The rule:
- Maintains the existing threshold criteria for DACA
- Retains the existing process for DACA requestors to seek work authorization
- Affirms the longstanding policy that DACA is not a form of lawful status but that DACA recipients, like other deferred action recipients, are considered “lawfully present” for certain purposes.
“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,” said Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in a statement. “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.”
U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), co-sponsor of the Dream Act with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), mentioned in a press release “Over the past decade, DACA has allowed more than 800,000 Dreamers—teachers, nurses, small business owners, and members of our military—to remain in the only home they’ve ever known – America. I applaud DHS for issuing this final rule to provide some stability to DACA recipients and make it more difficult for a future administration to rescind DACA, which is a lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion. However, this rule cannot provide permanent legal status or fully protect DACA recipients from relentless Republican legal challenges to the program. Only Congress can protect them. I urge my Republican colleagues to stop obstructing our efforts to protect Dreamers.”