Despite a federal judge’s ruling that the Deferred Action in Childhood Arrivals program was outside the law, the Biden administration is moving forward with its plan to make it permanent.
According to a report Monday in The Wall Street Journal, the Department of Homeland Security will publish a proposed regulation that will allow the illegal immigrants protected by DACA — known as “Dreamers” — to continue to be part of the program.
The proposal is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.
DACA allows illegal immigrants who entered the country as children to remain, as long as they meet certain conditions. The program was started through an executive order of then-President Barack Obama.
In July, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the program could not accept new applications but could continue for those already enrolled until the case eventually makes its way through the court system, according to CNN.
The proposed DACA regulation was being drafted then and was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget over the summer.
The rule, “Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” exists on the federal website that tracks regulations as they make their way through the federal process.
The description of the rule says, “On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed a Presidential Memorandum, Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), requiring DHS, in consultation with the Attorney General, to take all appropriate action to preserve and fortify DACA, consistent with applicable law. Consistent with the Presidential Memorandum, DHS intends to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking to preserve and fortify DACA.”
The regulation was crafted, in part, to address concerns of the judge who put the brakes on DACA that there was no sound administrative rationale for the program Obama created with the stroke of a pen in 2012.
Legislative efforts to make DACA part of federal law have failed. Last week, an attempt by Senate Democrats to create a path to citizenship for DACA recipients through the $3.5 trillion spending bill they hope to pass was dashed when the Senate’s parliamentarian said the proposal could not be part of the massive package.
After the DACA regulation is published, there will be a 60-day comment period for the public to weigh in.
As noted in the document, mail comments are not being accepted.
“You may submit comments on the entirety of this proposed rulemaking package, identified by DHS Docket No. 2021-0006, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the website instructions for submitting comments,” the document says.
As envisaged by the new rule, illegal immigrants covered by DACA would pay $495 for a two-year work permit and could come and go from the country as they pleased.
DACA recipients not interested in working could stay if they pay an $85 fee, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The DHS analysis of its DACA proposal says costs to local communities from the illegal immigrants it protects are “unlikely to be significant, and it may well have a positive net effect,” according to the report.
The rule says that “it is not generally the best use of those limited resources to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived since early childhood and whose languages they may not even speak.
“It recognizes that, as a general matter, DACA recipients, who came to this country many years ago as children, lacked the intent to violate the law, have not been convicted of any serious crimes, and remain valued members of our communities.
“It reflects the conclusion that, while they are in the United States, they should have access to a process that, operating on a case-by-case basis, may allow them to work to support themselves and their families, and to contribute to our economy in multiple ways.
“This proposed rule also accounts for the momentous decisions DACA recipients have made in ordering their lives in reliance on and as a result of this policy, and it seeks to continue the benefits that have accrued to DACA recipients, their families, their communities, and to the Department itself that have been made possible by the policy.”
The rule estimates that through this regulation, the DACA population will grow, reaching 956,863 by 2031.
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