The Biden administration on Wednesday took another step to try to preserve the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to stay and work in the country.
The Department of Homeland Security announced the finalized rule, which is an effort to continue the DACA policy that was first introduced in 2012. Over the years, the program has protected more than 800,000 people from deportation, according to DHS.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that his administration was “fulfilling our commitment to preserve and strengthen” the program by finalizing regulations to “reinforce protections” for “Dreamers,” referencing people brought to the US as children.
“Ten years ago, I stood by President Obama as he announced one of our proudest accomplishments – creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA,” Biden wrote. “The program has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Dreamers by allowing them to live here and contribute their talents to this great country without fear of removal.”
“I will do everything within my power to protect Dreamers, but Congressional Republicans should stop blocking a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers,” he added. “It is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for our economy and our communities.”
For years, Congress has tried and failed to pass legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship or otherwise address the immigration system.
The finalized rule, which has been in the works since last year, replaces the Obama-era memo and takes effect October 31.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called it “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.”
However, DHS noted that an injunction from the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas remains in effect, prohibiting the department from granting initial DACA requests and related employment authorization.
But because that injunction has been partially stayed, renewal requests may be granted under the new regulations, DHS said.