Biden Administration Proposes New Rule To Save Obama-Era DACA Program; Documented Dreamers Disappointed Over Exclusion

The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced a proposed rule to save the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ) program that protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children  known as ”Dreamers” from deportation.

Earlier, the US Supreme Court had blocked an effort initiated by the Trump administration that tended to terminate the DACA program.

In the absence of a legislation, it is the DACA program that helped the Biden and Obama administrations to provide protection for Dreamers to stay and work in the country.

The Congress had failed to pass a legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for dreamers as the republicans vehemently opposed the legislation.

The new proposed rule by the Biden administration attempts to satisfy concerns of a federal judge in Houston who ruled in July that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was illegal, largely because the Obama administration bypassed procedural requirements when it took effect in 2012.

Unlike the Obama era rule, the Department of Homeland Security said that the new rule will go through public comment and stressed that it is still not a final substitute for congressional action.

However, according to the PTI, the documented dreamers joined by a group of lawmakers on Monday expressed disappointment over their exclusion from the proposed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals rules which preserve and fortify protection for certain undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

Documented dreamers are children of long-term visa holders who often wait years for a green card and face deportation if they do not receive legal immigration status after turning 21, when they lose dependent status.

The proposed rule would maintain the same eligibility criteria as the 2012 program, which provides work permits and deportation protections to people without legal status who entered the US prior to June 15, 2012, and who were born after June 16, 1981, the PTI said.

The rule, however, leaves the documented dreamers, who are mostly Indian-Americans who came to the country legally as children of H-1B parents and are facing deportation after being aged out.

“DACA has helped thousands of dreamers and for that reason, I am very glad it exists to protect the most vulnerable who have grown up here.However, it has to be one of the most unjust and nonsensical immigration policies to exist,”  Dip Patel, founder of Improve The Dream said, the PTI reported.

In a statement, Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas said the Biden-Harris administration continues to take action to protect the documented dreamers and recognize their contributions to this country.

“This notice of proposed rule making is an important step to achieve that goal. However, only the Congress can provide permanent protection. I support the inclusion of immigration reform in the reconciliation bill and urge the Congress to act swiftly to provide the dreamers the legal status they need and deserve,” he said, the PTI reported.

Meanwhile, Congressman Deborah Ross also expressed disappointment that the proposed rule does not include protection for the documented dreamers.

“While I am very glad the administration is taking steps to protect the dreamers, we must include the documented dreamers in our work on immigration reform,” she said.