The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Mr. Jeh Johnson recently confirmed that his department will continue to fight for the quick implementation of the updated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program. Commonly referred to as DACA and DAPA, respectively, these two programs allow for the temporary suspension of deportation proceedings for young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children and for the parents of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and U.S. citizens. Qualified applicants also received work authorization.
In order to benefit from DAPA, applicants would need to prove that they have a qualifying U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child and that they have a clean criminal record (among other requirements).
These programs, which constitute a crucial part of the President’s executive action on immigration, may be in jeopardy since last month a federal judge in Texas blocked their implementation and the court case continues to linger in the court system.
However, luckily Secretary Johnson has affirmed his department’s commitment to making sure these programs prevail, even in the face of the aforementioned lawsuit filed by a small number of the states against the federal government.
Secretary Johnson’s Statements on DACA and DAPA
Secretary Johnson discussed DACA and DAPA during a recent address he gave at Rice University. He stated that the DHS and the Obama administration as a whole are working diligently to prevail on the issue of implementing DACA and DAPA, even in the face of the federal judge’s decision to temporary block these programs.
The Secretary made it a point to highlight that deferred action has been implemented by both Democratic and Republican administrations for several years – with President Reagan signing into law the most well-known program that offered relief from deportation to millions of undocumented foreign nationals. He also emphasized that a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that approximately 72 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that undocumented foreign nationals currently living in the country should be provided with a pathway to becoming legal residents.
The Importance of the DACA and DAPA Program
It is absolutely critical that the DACA and DAPA programs go into effect as soon as possible. Projections show that these programs will provide an estimated 4.9 million undocumented foreign nationals with work authorization and temporary relief from deportation. Under the first installment of DACA that went into effect in 2012, approximately 670,000 undocumented foreign nationals were able to receive these benefits, which has resulted in great contributions to our country’s economy.
Secretary Johnson posits that the country would continue to enormously benefit from the deferred action programs because the participants in these programs would be encouraged to report crimes and would be required to pay taxes.
It is very encouraging that Secretary Johnson has affirmed his department’s commitment to prevailing on the DACA and DAPA issues. Hopefully, the federal court will agree that these programs are critically important to the nation as a whole and will act to implement them as soon as possible. Continue to check back with our blog for the most up to date news on all immigration-related issues.
Additional Blog Posts
Immigration Judges Request Separation from the Department of Justice, ImmigRantings, August 19, 2013
Congress Attempts to Implement Measures to Protect Immigrants from Notarios, ImmigRantings, September 27, 2013