What is DACA and who are the Dreamers?
In 2012, in an attempt to protect undocumented immigrants who are essential workers, the Barack Obama administration implemented a program called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which offers relief from deportation to young immigrants known as Dreamers.
The term Dreamers refers to immigrants who came to the US without legal documentation as minors. Over the past few decades, this immigrant community has become essential to the socioeconomic fabric of the country. This is because most Dreamers have been part of the American culture since they were children, have grown up with local customs, and are workers in all kinds of sectors.
DACA protects eligible Dreamers from deportation for two years with the possibility of extension. Also, thanks to this immigration benefit, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers have had the opportunity to obtain employment authorization and become a vital part of the national economy.
However, despite the benefits DACA brings to immigrant communities, this program has faced multiple legal challenges, especially between 2017 and 2021, during the term of former President Donald Trump, who used every tool at his disposal to remove DACA from benefits available to immigrants in the US.
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Judge invalidates new DACA applications
A Texas judge who was in charge of a legal proceeding against DACA ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on Friday, July 16, 2021 and ordered the immediate suspension of this immigration benefit, stating that then President Obama did not follow regular guidelines when implementing this program and, therefore, it is not legitimate.
According to the judge’s ruling, the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) can receive new DACA applications but can no longer approve them. In other words, the ruling states that new DACA applications cannot be approved, but it does not affect Dreamers who are already DACA recipients.
The Biden Administration plans to appeal DACA’s ruling
Unlike former President Trump, current President Joe Biden supports programs like DACA and the ideal of opening a path to legalization for eligible Dreamers, who are also essential workers. In fact, since Biden took office in late January 2021, he has emphasized the need to protect young immigrants.
Therefore, on Saturday, July 17, President Biden issued a statement about the Texas judge’s ruling on DACA, arguing that it “is deeply disappointing”. Biden stated that this verdict affects thousands of DACA-eligible Dreamers, who will not be able to have protection from deportation through this program and, therefore, now have an uncertain future in the US.
Adding to that, President Biden stated that the DOJ (Department of Justice) plans to appeal the judge’s ruling and promote immigration reform in Congress to protect young immigrants currently residing in the US undocumented.
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