Featured Issue: Protecting Dreamers

On August 30, 2022, the Biden Administration issued a final regulation codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. (AILA had submitted comments on the September 28, 2021, proposed rule.) AILA welcomed the rule, but also called on Congress to pass legislation permanently protecting all Dreamers, not just those who qualify for DACA under these regulations. The final rule is effective Monday, October 31, 2022, and codifies the existing DACA program and policies with limited changes.

However, a district court in Texas had issued an injunction in July 2021 that prohibits DHS from granting initial DACA requests. As a result, DHS has not been adjudicating any initial DACA applications since that time. On October 5, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded an appeal of that 2021 decision back to the district court for further review but kept in place the status quo - that current DACA recipients can renew, but new applications for DACA will not be processed. In remanding the case, the Fifth Circuit held that the 2012 creation of DACA by executive memo was not legal and ordered the district court to address the government's argument based on the new DACA regulation.

On October 14, Judge Hanen issued an order partially blocking the final regulation from going into effect, stating that the injunction currently in place extends to the new regulations. The order also stated that DHS may continue to accept and grant DACA renewal applications, but that DHS continues to be enjoined from granting DACA status for any new applicants.

Legislative Efforts to Protect Dreamers

AILA supports several bills in the 117th Congress that would provide permanent legal status and a path to citizenship for all unauthorized immigrants including Dreamers and recipients of TPS and DED.

For more information on past legislative efforts to protect Dreamers, check out our AILA Policy Brief: How Dreamer Protection Bills Measure Up.

DACA Resources

Recent Government Announcements

Litigation Challenging DACA Rescission

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17072035.