The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will continue to reject initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications from immigrants who never obtained the protection from deportation and also said it would limit the renewals for more than 640,000 so-called "Dreamers" enrolled in the program.
According to a senior administration official, officers will "reject without prejudice" DACA petitions from those not enrolled in the program, dashing the hopes of hundreds of thousands of potential new applicants, including more than 66,000 immigrant teens who turned 15 years of age after September 2017. Under the new guidelines, current DACA recipients will only be eligible for one-year extensions, rather than the two-year protections that have been in place since 2012, the official added.
This is a stopgap action while the administration undertakes a "comprehensive review" of the Obama-era program and the justifications offered in 2017 for dismantling it, the senior administration official said. Officials intend to use the review to act on the program once again.
It is unclear whether Tuesday's announcement complies with recent orders from the Supreme Court and lower courts that prevented the administration from immediately ending DACA.
In a 5-4 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration violated federal administrative in its termination of DACA, setting aside the 2017 memo that would've ended the program. The majority's opinion did not address the program's legality, nor did it preclude the administration from crafting a new rationale for ending it.
More recently, a federal judge in Maryland ordered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which administers DACA, to fully restore the program to way it operated before the Trump administration moved to terminate it in the fall of 2017.
The U.S. government first agreed to shield this population from deportation in 2012, when President Obama announced the Department of Homeland Security would start accepting and processing applications for these temporary protections from young immigrants who met certain requirements. DACA allows these immigrants to apply for temporary renewable work permits in the U.S.
The prerequisites included having no serious criminal convictions or charges, having arrived in the U.S before they were 16, having lived in the country since at least 2007 and earning an American high school diploma, a GED or serving honorably in the military.
First published on July 28, 2020 / 2:43 PM / Camilo Montoya-Galvez
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