Recent Steps to Protect Dreamers
On August 30, 2022, the Biden Administration issued a final regulation codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. (AILA had submitted comments on the September 28, 2021, proposed rule.) AILA welcomed the rule, but also called on Congress to pass legislation permanently protecting all Dreamers, not just those who qualify for DACA under these regulations. The final rule is effective Monday, October 31, 2022, and codifies the existing DACA program and policies with limited changes.
However, a district court in Texas had issued an injunction in July 2021 that prohibits DHS from granting initial DACA requests. As a result, DHS has not been adjudicating any initial DACA applications since that time. On October 5, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded an appeal of that 2021 decision back to the district court for further review but kept in place the status quo - that current DACA recipients can renew, but new applications for DACA will not be processed. In remanding the case, the Fifth Circuit held that the 2012 creation of DACA by executive memo was not legal and ordered the district court to address the government's argument based on the new DACA regulation.
On October 14, Judge Hanen issued an order blocking the final regulation from going into effect while he deliberates and until he issues final decision in the case. The order also stated that DHS may continue to accept and grant DACA renewal applications, but that DHS continues to be enjoined from granting DACA status for any new applicants.