Biden administration trying to revive DACA program after court ruling

The White House is attempting to bring back the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program months after a federal judge ruled it had not been properly implemented and blocked officials from accepting new applications.

The move by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Monday was likely to kick off another round of litigation over immigration policy and a program that has come under fire almost from the moment it was announced by the 44th president in June 2012.

In his July ruling, US District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA — which protects illegal immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation — violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which dictates how agencies develop and implement regulations. Nine Republican-run states had sued to halt the program, arguing that Obama did not have the authority to create DACA because he had bypassed Congress.

On Monday, DHS announced a rule that would recreate the DACA policy as laid out in a 2012 memo by then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. However, the department announced that the publication of the rule in the Federal Register Tuesday would open a 60-day public comment window in an effort to comply with Hanen’s ruling, which the administration is appealing.

An immigrant family joins members of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, CHIRLA, on a vehicle caravan rally to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The implementation of the comment period ensures that any move by President Biden to restart the DACA program would not take effect for months.

“The Biden-Harris Administration continues to take action to protect Dreamers and recognize their contributions to this country,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement using the common term for those covered by DACA. “This notice of proposed rulemaking is an important step to achieve that goal. However, only Congress can provide permanent protection. I support the inclusion of immigration reform in the reconciliation bill and urge Congress to act swiftly to provide Dreamers the legal status they need and deserve.”

People participate in a march in support of a pathway to citizenship for immigrants on July 23, 2021 in New York City.
Getty Images

Congressional Democrats had sought to include immigration provisions in their $3.5 trillion package of social and environment initiatives. However, the Senate’s nonpartisan parliamentarian said earlier this month that those provisions could not remain in the sweeping bill because it violated the chamber’s budget rules.

Biden himself has asserted he would like to see a path to citizenship for Dreamers, which is not currently an option for those in the program.

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there were approximately 616,030 people enrolled in the DACA program as of the end of March.

With Post wires

Demonstrators arrive in front of the US Supreme Court during the "Home Is Here" March for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
AFP via Getty Images

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