New DACA Applications Have Been Halted

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it would not accept new applications for the DACA program. The DACA was started by the Obama administration in 2012 to help young immigrants who were brought to the US illegally. Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf, issued a memo regarding the changes.

DACA program

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program was started in 2012. It protects the immigrants who were illegally brought to the US as children under the age of 16. They came to the United States with their parents without any legal rights. Since 2012, over 800,000 immigrants have taken advantage of this program.

They have grown up in America and have no memory of their native place. They have to renew their applications for the program every two years. The recipients of the DACA program are referred to as ‘Dreamers’.

What is covered under the memo

The administration has decided to change the renewal period. The recipients have to renew their applications annually. New applications under the DACA program will not be accepted. The administration feels that this program is against the policies of the Department of Homeland Security.

The recipients will not be allowed to visit their native countries unless there is an exceptional case such as family events, funerals, weddings, etc. Though these permissions are generally denied by the Trump administration.

Laura Mendoza, a Program Manager at Chicago Resurrection Project, raised questions about the annual renewal fee. She said it is difficult to pay the annual renewal fee of $495. The Acting Secretary of the DHS replied that they would consider lowering the renewal fee.

Wolf has also written that the DACA policy can be justified as a temporary basis, but it cannot be a permanent status of the immigrants. Congress had enough time to take action. They were presented with various proposals, but Congress has declined to take any action. 

The Supreme Court’s order

In June, the Court announced that the decision of the administration to end the program is arbitrary and capricious. Court has called the move in violation to federal laws and has already blocked the termination of the DACA program completely.

The decision was taken by Chief Justice Roberts along with four liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer. Chief Justice John Roberts said that they couldn’t figure out whether the policies of DACA are sound or not. They can only address whether the agency has an appropriate explanation for this.

The opinion of other leaders

Soon after the information came out on the website, Kamala Harris tweeted that the administration is defying the ruling that the Supreme Court gave. They have to accept new applications to the DACA program.

Pramila Jayapal also came in to support the program and said that the Department of Homeland Security has no right to choose the laws and court rulings to be followed.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that the Trump administration is trying to dismantle the DACA program. He said that the court has already given their decision to continue with DACA. If required, they are ready to take the matter to the court and defend the program.

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, a professor at Penn State Law, said that the administration’s move is defying the Supreme and Federal Courts and called the move as cruel. Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, alleged the administration to be marginalizing immigrants.

Dianne Feinstein, US Senator, said that the President is trying to gain supporters for the November elections at the cost of Dreamers. They are living under constant fear that their protection can be taken away at any moment.

To sum it up

The Department of Homeland Security made an announcement on Tuesday. The memo included the changes to be brought in the DACA program. The administration will not accept the new applications, and the renewal period has been shortened to 1 year. The recipients of the program will not be allowed to go back to their countries unless it is an exceptional situation.

The DACA program has been shielding over 600,000 active recipients. The Acting Secretary of DHS, Chad Wolf, called the DACA program inconsistent with the department’s policies. The administration has faced a backlash for its move. Many leaders have called out the move for violating the Supreme Court’s verdict and the Federal Court.