Biden administration issues final rule on protections for ‘Dreamers’ – JP
The Biden administration finalized a rule Wednesday to fortify the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as it faces legal challenges, aiming to preserve protections for hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers.”
The rule, set to go into effect Oct. 31, codifies into federal regulation the 2012 program that shields more than 600,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation and allows them to work legally in the U.S. For the past 10 years, the program has been governed by a Department of Homeland Security memorandum.
“Today, we are taking another step to do everything in our power to preserve and fortify DACA, an extraordinary program that has transformed the lives of so many Dreamers,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a news release. “Thanks to DACA, we have been enriched by young people who contribute so much to our communities and our country.”
The final rule unveiled Wednesday is similar to a proposed rule DHS released in 2021. There are some minor changes, such as a clarification that expunged criminal convictions and immigration offenses are not automatic disqualifiers for the program. DHS received 16,361 comments during the rule’s public comment period.
The rule preserves long-standing eligibility requirements for the program. To qualify, immigrants must have arrived in the U.S. by age 16 and before June 2007, must have studied at a U.S. school or served in the military, and must lack a serious criminal record.