Biden Administration Moves to Codify Protections for ‘Dreamers’

August 25, 2022 by Dan McCue
Biden Administration Moves to Codify Protections for ‘Dreamers’
Ingrid Vaca, left, a native of Bolivia, helps to energize activists to rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, at the Capitol in Washington, June 15, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday said it has finalized a rule turning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy into a federal regulation.

According to White House officials, the regulation would “preserve” the DACA program, which to date has protected more than 830,000 young people — the so-called “Dreamers” who were brought illegally into this country by adult family members —  from deportation, allowing them to work, study, and contribute to American society.

“Dreamers are part of the fabric of this nation,” President Joe Biden said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon. 

“They serve on the frontlines of the pandemic response. They are students, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Many serve bravely in our military. They’ve only ever known America as their home,” he said.


The rule isn’t scheduled to take effect until Oct. 31, and the administration’s announcement comes against a looming decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that could officially put an end to the DACA program.

Its 453 pages are largely technical and represent little substantive change from the 2012 memo that created DACA, but it was subject to public comments as part of a formal rule-making process intended to improve its chances of surviving legal muster.

Meanwhile, a new  battleground poll conducted by Hart Research and BSP Research revealed that a majority of voters (65%) want Congress to protect Dreamers.

While the administration’s action today does not expand the DACA program and ultimately cannot guarantee the program’s existence in the face of court challenges, it does place one more item on Congress’s agenda when it returns from recess in September.


“Ten years ago, I stood by President Obama as he announced one of our proudest accomplishments — creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA,” Biden said. 

“The program has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Dreamers by allowing them to live here and contribute their talents to this great country without fear of removal. 

“Today, we are fulfilling our commitment to preserve and strengthen DACA by finalizing a rule that will reinforce protections, like work authorization, that allow Dreamers to live more freely and to invest in their communities more fully,” the president added.

Biden vowed to do everything within his power to protect Dreamers, and pressed Congressional Republicans ‘’to stop blocking a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship” for them.. 

“It is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for our economy and our communities,” Biden said.

Sergio Gonzales, executive director of the Immigration Hub, a national organization dedicated to advancing progressive immigration policies, picked up tha theme in a written statement of his own, saying, “It is time for Congress to resolve the uncertainty that has lingered for more than a decade after multiple Republican legal challenges and attempts by GOP officials such as Trump’s move to end DACA. 


“We need legislation passed this year to protect undocumented immigrants including Dreamers, farm workers and Temporary Protected Status holders, among others, who are contributing to our economy and communities,” Gonzales said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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