For the first time in more than three years, the Trump administration has approved brand-new applicants into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Associated Press reports that of the more than 2,700 first-time applications submitted since mid-November, over 170 have been approved since the administration was forced to reopen the program under court order last year.
That judge’s ruling, which found that unlawfully appointed acting Department of Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf lacked legal authority to further slash the program, also said that officials had to extend work permits that had been shortened by the coiffed mini-fascist. Karen Tumlin, an attorney in the case against the administration, said that more than 68,000 beneficiaries who had received the shortened one-year permits now had two-year permits.
The numbers come from data submitted by the federal government to the judge overseeing the case. DACA’s full reimplementation following Judge Nicholas Garaufis’ order came nearly six months after the Supreme Court ruled that the administration had unlawfully ended the policy. But officials not only defied that ruling, but then also issued a memo, signed by Unlawful Chad, further slashing existing protections from two years to just one.
Garaufis “ordered two-year renewals reinstated and required Homeland Security to report how many new applicants were rejected from June to Dec. 4,” the AP said. “The figure: 4,383.”
Tumlin said in her thread “[t]his shows how ready people were to apply” but couldn’t, because the administration was defying the Supreme Court on an order it didn’t like. Only following Garaufis’ November ruling did the administration reopen DACA (though also dragged that out for several weeks as well). But as Tumlin also notes, most of the applications submitted in the past weeks remain unprocessed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigration agency the administration nearly shut down last year under supposed budget concerns.
As CBS News’ Camilo Montoya-Galvez noted in his report following the reopening, the program’s survival in the face of never-ending attacks beginning with former Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’ termination of the policy in September 2017 has been remarkable. “But DACA outlived Sessions,” Montoya-Galvez writes. But, Republicans are still attacking the program, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, one of the most corrupt politicians in the nation, leading a charge to try to kill it in another court.
The judge in that case, the anti-immigrant Andrew Hanen, has not yet issued a decision following a hearing late last month. President-elect Joe Biden’s administration has confirmed that it will take steps to protect young undocumented immigrants immediately after his swearing in, with his incoming chief of staff Ronald Klain telling NBC’s Meet the Press that “[w]e’re going to protect the Dreamers on day one.”
If Hanen rules against DACA, immigration policy experts say that the executive has still wide latitude when it comes to protecting young immigrants and their families. “The Biden administration needs to be clever about this because there’s a sadly decent chance that Judge Hanen strikes down DACA the same day the announcement is made,” American Immigration Council’s Aaron Reichlin-Melnick tweeted in November. “They should be ready to use alternatives, like Parole in Place or Deferred Enforced Departure.” But DACA still stands right now, and advocates like Tumlin are continuing to urge young immigrants to keep applying.
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