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DHS Announces Proposed Rule to Protect DACA


On September 27, 2021, the Biden Administration announced plans to publish a proposed rule to preserve and fortify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program, which has provided deportation protections and work authorizations to more than 700,000 undocumented young adults who arrived in the United States as children. The new rule will go into effect after a 60-day comment period for public input. 

The proposed rule essentially certifies that DACA recipients or “Dreamers” should not be a priority for deportation, based on the 2012 Napolitan Memorandum and immigration agendas from three past U.S. presidents. In addition, the new rule also made changes and improvements to the current filing process. 

In order to qualify for DACA, you must meet the following conditions: 

  • You arrived in the U.S. before your 16th birthday 

  • Be born on or after June 16, 1981, and at least 15 years old at the time you filed 

  • You have continuously lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 

  • You are currently in school or have graduated, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. military 

  • No felony convictions or more than three separate misdemeanors on your criminal record 

  • You are not a threat to public safety or national security 

In July, however, Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Houston ruled that the program was illegal, stating that President Barack Obama exceed his authority by creating the program through executive action in 2012. The federal judge also mentioned that current DACA beneficiaries would not be immediately affected by the ruling. 

Therefore, only current recipients can have their protections renewed, while Homeland Security is not currently approving any new DACA applications. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that only Congress can give Dreamers permanent protection. 

Democrats tried to include a path to citizenship for Dreams and millions of other undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in a $3.5-trillion spending bill. Yet, the Senate parliamentarian blocked the effort. 

Democrats are currently preparing alternative plans. One initiative is updating the immigration registry, a legal process of giving undocumented individuals who have lived in the U.S. for many years lawful permanent residency, which can greatly benefit Dreamers. As of right now, a foreign national who arrived in the U.S. before January 1, 1972, has continuously lived in the U.S. ever since, and met other requirements can obtain a green card. 

If you are interested in obtaining an immigration visa in Santa Barbara, call Appel & Morse at (805) 467-6060 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation. 

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