The Biden administration’s final rule to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program went into effect on Monday.
The implementation of the final rule means that DACA is now based on a formal regulation, thereby preserving and fortifying the program even though it remains the subject of litigation in court.
“This final rule is our effort to preserve and fortify DACA to the fullest extent possible,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Ultimately, we need Congress to urgently pass legislation that provides Dreamers with the permanent protection they need and deserve.”
DACA was previously based on a policy memorandum issued on August 15th, 2012, by the Obama administration.
Last month, the federal appeals court upheld District Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling that declared the DACA program unlawful and barred first-time applicants. Hanen ruled that DACA was unlawful as it was created through a memo instead of the formal rulemaking process, which requires public “notice and comment.”
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Obama administration lacked legal authority to create DACA and sent the case back to Judge Hanen, asking him to review the new regulations that the Biden administration unveiled in August to protect and fortify the program.
DACA protects people who arrived in the US as children without legal status by granting them work authorization, protecting them from deportation, and in some cases allowing them travel permits. It does not qualify them for permanent legal status or citizenship.
Those enrolled in DACA were required to prove that they arrived in the US by age 16 and before June 2007, studied in a US school or served in the military, and lacked any serious criminal record.