The Department of Homeland Security has finalized a rule that would grant legal status to 600,000 children of illegal aliens. The new directive would formalize the rule adapted in 2012 during the Obama administration and transform it into federal regulation. It would prevent deportations and grant work permits to those who came to the United States as children.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been in legal limbo ever since a Texas judge ruled that the program was illegal in the early months of the Biden administration. The new rule going into effect October 31 would codify most of the eligibility rules: applicants must 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.
The Texas case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court, where justices already ruled against Donald Trump’s bid to end the program, largely because of a technicality. But this case is based on far narrower Constitutional grounds; only Congress can declare large swaths of illegal aliens as legal. And that argument has a good chance of winning in the high court as it’s currently constituted.
Congress has long been unable to reach any kind of immigration deal that would garner enough bipartisan support to pass the Senate. Last year, the Senate parliamentarian rejected multiple efforts by Democrats to include immigration changes in their party-line social spending bill. And Republican leaders have expressed little interest in Democrats’ attempts at overhauling immigration policy.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has long pushed for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, was quick to applaud the Department of Homeland Security’s issuing the rule. He noted that it provides “some stability to DACA recipients and make[s] it more difficult for a future administration to rescind DACA, which is a lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”
The rule would only apply to DACA renewal requests as the government is blocked from approving any new applications. But the radical immigration advocates want Biden to go long and go big.
But some immigrant advocates expressed frustration that the Biden administration did not go further in its final rule, opting to keep the same criteria from when the program was created in 2012.
“This final DACA rule fails to strengthen the program by not expanding it to include the majority of undocumented immigrant youth who are graduating from high school this year and not eligible for the program because of arbitrary cut-off dates,” said Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, deputy director of federal advocacy for United We Dream.
“While Congress must pass permanent protections for all, President Biden cannot hide behind the courts or Congress. He can take bold action now,” she added.
The rule is still going to face challenges in court, so Biden isn’t hiding very well. He can’t. Congress has the authority to end this argument. But even those Republicans — like Donald Trump — who support DACA in one form or another realize what a loaded political issue it is and will never risk voting for it.
Most people agree that young children should not suffer from their parent’s immigration crimes. But a blanket amnesty would be uncalled for and would be hard to do anyway.
Reporting from PJ Media.