Late Thursday night, the Department of Homeland Security issued the following press release:
On June 15, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, after consulting with the Attorney General, signed a memorandum rescinding the November 20, 2014 memorandum that created the program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) because there is no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy.
The rescinded memo purported to provide a path for illegal aliens with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child to be considered for deferred action. To be considered for deferred action, an alien was required to satisfy six criteria:
(1) as of November 20, 2014, be the parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
(2) have continuously resided here since before January 1, 2010;
(3) have been physically present here on November 20, 2014, and when applying for relief;
(4) have no lawful immigration status on that date;
(5) not fall within the Secretary’s enforcement priorities; and
(6) “present no other factors that, in the exercise of discretion, make [ ] the grant of deferred action inappropriate.”
Prior to implementation of DAPA, twenty-six states challenged the policies established in the DAPA memorandum in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The district court enjoined implementation of the DAPA memorandum, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, and the Supreme Court allowed the district court’s injunction to remain in place.
The rescinded policy also provided expanded work authorization for recipients under the DACA program for three years versus two years. This policy was also enjoined nationwide and has now been rescinded.
The June 15, 2012 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect.
In essence, DHS has basically kept the status quo that has been going on since President Obama announced DAPA and DACA+ in 2014.
Immigrant rights groups are already noting this. Here is what Dream Action Coalition said in a statement:
“The recission of DAPA/DACA+ comes at no surprise as these policies were never implemented, Attorney General Jeff Session opposed the executive actions, and the policies were stuck in litigation. The recission blocks much needed deportation relief for our families as they will be vulnerable to Trump’s deportation machine. Nevertheless, we will not let President Trump rip apart families and we will continue to fight for the 11 million undocumented families until we secure permanent legislative relief,” said Cesar Vargas, co-director of the Dream Action Coalition.
“President Trump continues to fuel his deportation machine by rescinding DAPA and DACA+. Instead of showing presidential leadership and working with Congress to pass a permanent solution, he is just uttering empty words. He is on pace to becoming the next deporter-in-chief that will tarnish his reputation throughout history with Latino voters,” said Yesenia Mata, political director of the Dream Action Coalition.
United We Dream also issued reactions through Greisa Martínez Rosas, the group’s advocacy director. Martínez Rosas is also a DACA beneficiary.
The DACA program, which protects my little sister, me and 800,000 other young people still stands. Rather than building upon the success of DACA, Republicans in Congress voted to stop the expansion of the program to our parents, a handful of state Republicans filed a lawsuit against the expansion, a partisan Republican judge blocked it and now Trump got rid of it.
We campaigned hard to protect our parents and aren’t stopping now because this is our home and we are #HereToStay.
The DACA program still stands but it is vulnerable as Trump’s agents have been found to have deported, framed and detained DACA youth in his detention camps.
Our message to elected officials at the Federal, state and local level is that if you are not actively enacting policies to protect immigrants from mass deportation and all people of color from out of control law enforcement, you are complicit in the Trump attacks. The time for action and resistance is now.
Besides the press release, DHS also issued some FAQs about its decision. One question and answer caught the attention of immigration rights advocates.
Q. Why is DHS rescinding the policy?
A. Secretary Kelly considered a number of factors, including the nationwide injunction of the DAPA memorandum, the ongoing litigation, the fact that DAPA never took effect, and our new immigration enforcement priorities.
“Since taking power, the Trump regime has expanded ICE’s crosshairs to every undocumented person who calls the US home,” Mijente’s Tania Unzueta, also a DACA beneficiary, said. “By rescinding DAPA because of ‘new enforcement priorities,’ it is sending a message that our only options are for local governments, the courts and immigrant communities ourselves to keep our families together. We remind Trump and his collaborators that he may be able to shred previous memos but he cannot shred the Fourth Amendment. We will fight for our loved ones with all the tools we have, including the U.S. Constitution, and we expect the local leaders to stand with us in that.”