Posted on August 25, 2022

Biden Administration Moves to Formalize DACA and Shield It From Legal Challenges

Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, August 24, 2022

The Biden administration on Wednesday finalized a rule to transform the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy for more than 600,000 so-called “Dreamers” into a federal regulation, a move aimed at protecting the program from legal challenges that imperil its existence.

The 453-page rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to take effect on Oct. 31 and will codify the Obama-era program, which has been governed by a 2012 memo for a decade, into the federal government’s code of regulations.

Since its inception, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to live and work in the country legally without fear of deportation. As of March 31, 611,270 immigrants were enrolled in DACA, government data show.

While technical in nature, the change announced Wednesday is designed to address some of the Republican-led legal challenges against the DACA, which a federal judge in Texas last year closed to new applicants.


“Today, we are taking another step to do everything in our power to preserve and fortify DACA, an extraordinary program that has transformed the lives of so many Dreamers,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement to CBS News. “Thanks to DACA, we have been enriched by young people who contribute so much to our communities and our country.”

The regulation will maintain the longstanding eligibility rules for DACA, which include requirements that applicants prove they arrived in the U.S. by age 16 and before June 2007; studied in a U.S. school or served in the military; and lack any serious criminal record.


Even with the regulation, however, DACA will remain in legal jeopardy. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, who closed DACA to first-time applicants in July 2021, ruled that the policy itself violates federal immigration law, as Texas and other Republican-led states have argued in a lawsuit.


In a statement Wednesday, President Biden urged lawmakers to legalize Dreamers, calling them “part of the fabric of this nation.”