This news summary about the future of DACA was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.
The Biden administration on Wednesday issued a 453-page regulation that outlines the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Immigrant rights advocates have since broken down what the news means for DACA recipients.
“The most important thing for folks to know is that this regulation changes nothing, both for folks with DACA and for those without it,” explains Karen Tumlin, a civil rights litigator specializing in immigrants’ rights.
What changes and what doesn’t with this DACA news?: The new regulation is a step toward formalizing the program and protecting it from legal challenges. However, only existing Dreamers would benefit from the rule’s implementation. This is because DACA’s legality is still being challenged by a Texas court case, which blocks new DACA applications. The case is expected to be appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Furthermore, eligibility criteria doesn’t change under the rule, which means that Dreamers who did not benefit from the program when it was implemented in 2012 will still not do so. Eligible DACA recipients qualified for the program’s benefits if they have been in the U.S. since 2007. In other words, many young people turning 16 and have lived their lives in the U.S. are still shut out of the program.
Other key facts to note from the new regulation: The rule does not expand on who can qualify for work authorization. However, current DACA recipients can renew their application.
The newly announced regulation is mostly targeted at addressing some of the Republican-led legal challenges against the program. It doesn’t implement key protections advocates have been pushing for, including pathways to citizenship and stability for undocumented communities.
- Learn more: DACA renewal checklist
- Learn more: What happens if DACA ends? — a data-backed analysis of potential consequences, if the program ends as soon as September.
Advocates are also cautioning that the rule is not guaranteed to go into effect: The rule will not go into effect for 60 days, and it will only do so if litigation doesn’t interfere.
“Beware of TikTok lawyers and notarios seeking to charge you to save a spot in line,” notes Juan Escalante, who was himself a former undocumented Dreamer. Scammers may use this proposed rule to take advantage of vulnerable people and unduly charge them for services.
DHS has promised that if the Texas case turns out to be unfavorable for DACA recipients, it will continue to protect the program.
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