José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: La Red Hispana

Faced with the imminent possibility that immigration reform could not be approved this year, due to internal disagreements between Democrats, as well as Republican opposition, President Joe Biden presented a new shield to protect the hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries of the program deferred action for childhood arrivals, known as DACA.

DACA-eligible youth, who are affectionately referred to as DREAMers, were destined to be the primary beneficiaries of the proposed plan to open a path to legal residency and, eventually, US citizenship.

Although there is still the possibility that the Democrats can put together a bill that can be approved by the Senate parliamentary expert to be included in the legislative reconciliation, the whole process is in uncertainty, due to the lack of agreement in the physical and human infrastructure projects.

Hence, the fact that the Department of Homeland Security presented a proposal for an immigration rule that, in the words of the document, would “preserve and strengthen” the DACA policy for the issuance of deferred actions for certain young people is doubly important.

The proposal would protect from deportation, although it will not confer legal status, those who have come to the United States under the age of 16, have continuously resided in the country as of June 15, 2007, do not have an immigration status since June 15, 2012 and have graduated or obtained a high school certificate or a GED certificate.

The cost of DACA membership would remain similar, out of a total of $495, which would include the processing and issuance of an employment authorization.

This is the official response of the Biden administration to the ruling by Texas Judge Andrew Hanen who ruled that the original DACA program, launched by President Barack Obama in 2012, did not meet regulatory requirements and is therefore illegal. Although the judge only suspended the program for new entries, he left open the possibility that the implementation errors could be fixed.

Under federal protocols, the Biden administration’s proposed regulation must go through a 60-day public consultation process. As with the Trump-era public rule proposal, this proposal is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of comments in the next two months.

In practice, the Biden administration created a multi-month extension to the DACA program with this proposal and showed the judge that it wants to comply in good faith. But the reality is that DACA recipients, like essential workers and TPS recipients, require a permanent solution.

The ball is still in the court of the Democratic party, which has the responsibility to urgently present an alternative proposal for immigration reform that meets the demands of the Senate parliamentary expert and allocates enough political capital to approve it as soon as possible. Nothing more, nothing less.

For more information visit www.laredhispana.com.