Newly-elected President Biden wasted no time in announcing several executive actions related to his new immigration plans. In 2012, during the Obama-Biden Administration, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a memorandum, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) guidance.  The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, has been in limbo since President Donald Trump tried to terminate the program in 2017.  While the Supreme Court blocked Trump’s attempt to end DACA, his administration continued to try to limit the program.

The DACA program deferred the removal of certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, have obeyed the law, and stayed in school or enlisted in the military.  DACA and associated regulations permit eligible individuals who pass a background check to request temporary relief from removal and to apply for temporary work permits.  DACA reflects a judgment that these immigrants should not be a priority for removal based on humanitarian concerns and other considerations, and that work authorization will enable them to support themselves and their families, and to contribute to our economy, while they remain.  Biden’s proposed immigration legislation will include an immediate pathway to citizenship for beneficiaries of the program.

The new executive action aims to preserve and Fortify DACA.  The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall take all actions he deems appropriate, consistent with applicable law, to preserve and fortify DACA.