June 21st, 2017
Trump Administration Keeps DACA Program
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly signed a memorandum on June 15, 2017 keeping in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program but ending the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The administration references the fact that DAPA was never implemented and stricter immigration enforcement priorities as reasons for the shift in policy. A press release states, “there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy.”
DAPA, the Obama era policy, was first announced on November 20, 2014 when then Secretary of DHS Jeh Johnson expanded the DACA policy to include parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents. The policy directed the United States Citizen and Immigration Services to establish a process for exercising prosecutorial discretion through the use of deferred action. On a case-by-case basis, the policy allowed for individuals who have no lawful status, have U.S. born children, and have been in the country since before January 1, 2010 to be lawfully present in the United States.
The DAPA program was challenged in court by twenty-six states in the Unites States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which enjoined the program. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the preliminary injunction and the United States Supreme Court, in a 4-4 ruling, left the lower court’s ruling in place.
The DACA program allows certain people who came to the United States as children, and who meet certain criteria, to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years and they may be eligible for work authorization. While the DAPA program has been rescinded, the DACA program will remain in effect. This means that people who are currently in lawful status under the program will still be able to renew their existing period of DACA if it is expiring and continue to work in lawful status if they were granted work authorization.