Biden then directly called on Republicans on Capitol Hill to come up with a legislative solution.
“I will do everything in my power to protect Dreamers, but Republicans in Congress should stop blocking a bill that paves the way to citizenship for Dreamers,” Biden said. “It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do for our economy and our communities.”
Congress has long been unable to strike any deal on immigration that would garner enough bipartisan support to pass the Senate. Last year the A Senate parliamentarian dismissed Democrats’ multiple efforts to include immigration changes in their party-line social spending bill. And Republican leaders have expressed little interest in Democrats’ attempts to overhaul immigration policy.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has long pushed for a path to citizenship for Dreamers, was quick to applaud the Department of Homeland Security’s release of the rule. He noted that it provides “some stability for DACA recipients and makes[s] it is more difficult for a future administration to overturn DACA, which is a legal exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
“However, this rule cannot provide permanent legal status or fully protect DACA recipients from the program’s ongoing Republican legal challenges,” Durbin said. “Only Congress can protect them.”
But some immigrant advocates have expressed frustration that the Biden administration didn’t go further with its final rule, opting to keep the same criteria since the program’s inception in 2012.
“This DACA final rule fails to strengthen the program by not expanding it to include the majority of undocumented immigrant youth who are graduating from high school this year and who are not eligible for the program due to dates. arbitrary limits,” said Juliana Macedo do Nascimento. , Deputy Director of Federal Advocacy for United We Dream.
“While Congress must enact permanent protections for all, President Biden cannot hide behind the courts or Congress. He can take bold steps now,” she added.
Meanwhile, DACA’s future remains uncertain after years of legal challenges.
The Trump administration tried to end the program for years, but was eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court. Eventually, a Texas federal judge canceled the program, deeming it illegaljust months after Biden took office last year.
Since then, the Biden administration has been blocked from approving new applications for DACA, which has granted work permits and deportation protection to its recipients. The 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals could rule on the legality of the program any day.
Homeland Security clarified that the final rule would apply only to DACA renewal requests, as the current injunction still prevents the administration from approving new DACA requests.