Homeland Security Announces That DACA Program Is Continuing But Not for How Long

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Image courtesy of McGeorge School of Law

Late yesterday word came from the Department of Homeland Security that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is not being terminated. Donald Trump repeatedly promised to end the program while campaigning for president.

The announcement came at the end of a statement formally revoking the Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals (DAPA) program. DAPA was created by President Obama to protect the parents of U.S. Citizens from deportation. DAPA was blocked by court action and has never gone into effect. At the end of the DAPA announcement, the Department of Homeland Security said that DACA was not being revoked. It said that “The June 15, 2012 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect.”

A linked FAQs page from Homeland Security says that “DACA recipients will continue to be eligible as outlined in the June 15, 2012 memorandum. DACA recipients who were issued three-year extensions before the district court’s injunction will not be affected, and will be eligible to seek a two-year extension upon their expiration. No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

Although I would like to see this as a pledge to continue the DACA program indefinitely, it is far from that. The announcement and accompanying FAQs can be read as simply a statement that the announcement rescinding DAPA does not apply to the 2012 DACA grant. While we should be encouraged that the Trump administration did not pull the plug on DACA, this may only be a temporary reprieve.

The other piece of good news is that even if the DACA program is eventually revoked, those with work permits will not have them taken away prior to their expiration dates.

It is still extremely important to continue to work for the preservation of DACA. The lives and futures of 800,000 DREAMers depend on it.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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