September 29, 2021
After a long, drawn-out game of tug of war over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the Biden administration is trying to make the policy resistant to any future court battles in a proposed regulation published Tuesday.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals offers temporary protection from deportation and permission to work for about 650,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children. It began in 2012, but former President Donald Trump ordered immigration officials to stop accepting new applications in 2017.
After years in court, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the Trump administration’s decision to stop the program was “arbitrary and capricious,” but did not decide whether it was illegal for former President Barack Obama to have started the program.
In July, a federal district judge in Texas declared DACA illegal, at least in part because the Obama administration did not publish the rule in the Federal Register and open it up for public comments before finalizing it.
The Department of Homeland Security is now doing just what the court said it failed to do in 2012 — publish the proposed regulation in the Federal Register. The regulation is currently open for public comments until Nov. 29. In the meantime, Homeland Security has also appealed the district court decision.
If the proposed order is finalized and not blocked by another court ruling, it could allow the federal government to begin receiving new applications for DACA once again. An estimated 300,000 people would be eligible to apply for DACA for the first time, including some 55,500 people who turned 15, the minimum age to apply, after the Trump administration stopped accepting new applications.