The Department of Homeland Security proposed a new rule on Sept. 28 to shield hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Under the proposal, the Biden Administration looks to strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program initiated by the Obama administration in 2012.
The proposal will undergo a public comment period
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says the rule is not a substitute for congressional action but is a crucial step to protect more than 600,000 DACA recipients. Under the proposal, those who qualify for DACA must:
- Have arrived in the United States prior to their 16th birthday
- Lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
- Have no felony convictions
- Currently be in school or have graduated
- Pose no threat to public safety or national security
The proposal was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 29, beginning a 60-day public comment period before going into effect.
The proposed rule responds to a judge’s decision
DACA was implemented after Congress’s failed attempts to provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants. The program has been under attack ever since. The Trump administration tried to eliminate the program but was blocked by the Supreme Court.
In July, a Texas judge ruled DACA violated a federal law stipulating the procedures agencies must follow to implement policies. He blocked new applications for DACA but allowed the program to continue for current enrollees while the case is decided in court. The Justice Department has appealed the ruling.