News Update

Biden administration moves to codify DACA

The Biden administration released a final rule Wednesday that makes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy into federal regulation.

DACA offers temporary protection from deportation and permission to work for about 650,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children.

The new regulation will go into effect Oct. 31 and take the place of a 2012 memo that created the program. Unlike that memo, this regulation was open to public comments, something that a federal judge in Texas said the Obama administration should have done.

“Today, we are fulfilling our commitment to preserve and strengthen DACA by finalizing a rule that will reinforce protections, like work authorization, that allow Dreamers to live more freely and to invest in their communities more fully,” President Biden said in a statement.

The program is currently only open for renewals by current DACA recipients. It has not been open to new applicants since July 2021, when U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen agreed with Texas and eight other states that the policy violates federal immigration policy. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the case later this year.

The regulation does not change the requirements for applicants to be eligible for DACA, which include having arrived in the U.S. by age 16 and before June 2007, studied in a U.S. school or served in the military, and not having a serious criminal record.