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DHS to Continue DACA Protections (For Now), End DAPA Program

A new memorandum released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicates the agency will not eliminate protections for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

The program, started under the Obama Administration, allowed a two-year grace period for immigrants who entered the United States as minors and met a specific list of criteria. During this period, the applicants do not face deportation and are eligible for a work permit. Deferred action eligibility requires renewal every two years.

President Trump, during his campaign, was a vocal critic of the program, repeatedly promising to end the program immediately upon assuming office. As a result, the new DHS memo is somewhat helpful guidance for those who have awaited clarification as to where the administration would actually come down on the issue. According to the memo, “DACA recipients will continue to be eligible as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum.”

However, following the DHS announcement, administration representatives clarified that the intent was to inform those affected that they would face no immediate impact. Meanwhile, a spokesman for DHS said, “There has been no final determination made about the DACA program, which the president has stressed needs to be handled with compassion and with heart.”

While DACA will continue for the time being, DHS also announced that it would end the similar Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, which would offer protections to immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 and have children who are either American citizens of lawful permanent residents. Like DACA, the protections would come with an exemption from deportation and a work permit, though not full legal status.

DAPA’s path, following introduction, was contentious, with 26 states filing a lawsuit, claiming the measure was unconstitutional. As a result of the lawsuit, a United States District Court issued a preliminary injunction to stop the program from taking effect while under legal consideration.

Reactions to the DAPA repeal were largely split down partisan lines. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) praised the decision, saying, “Secretary Kelly made the right decision to end the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional executive amnesty program, which has already been struck down by the federal courts. With his pen and phone, President Obama sought to rewrite our nation’s immigration laws on his own terms, ignoring the Constitution and the fact that it grants the power only to Congress to write our nation's laws.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee in the House, said, “The Administration rescinding the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program is not only mean-spirited, but will force immigrants and their loved ones to live in more fear than they already face on a daily basis. This is yet another promise broken by President Trump. Rather than targeting contributing, law-abiding members of society, he should be prioritizing getting dangerous criminals off our streets.”

Image: "Jeff Sessions" by Gage Skidmore. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

 

 

Posted in General News

Tags: DHS

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