The Department of Homeland Security yesterday renewed for two years President Obama’s directive to defer immigration enforcement against illegal immigrants who arrived in the country as youths.
As of this April, more than 560,000 people qualified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DHS will begin accepting two-year renewal requests from those people and continue to accept new applications.
“Despite the acrimony and partisanship that now exists in Washington, almost all of us agree that a child who crossed our border illegally with a parent, or in search of a parent or a better life, was not making an adult choice to break our laws, and should be treated differently than adult law-breakers,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “By the renewal of DACA, we act in accord with our values and the code of this great Nation. But, the larger task of comprehensive immigration reform still lies ahead.”
Those qualifying for renewals must have continuously resided in the U.S. since their approval and cannot have been convicted of a felony, “a significant misdemeanor” or three or more misdemeanors.”
The first approvals under Obama’s directive were set to expire in September.
“For the past two years, we’ve seen the positive impact that this program has had on individuals, families, and communities, and I am pleased Secretary Johnson is moving to extend it,” said Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.).
“Although the renewal of this policy will help assure promising futures for thousands of young immigrants, stop-gap and patchwork executive actions are not a permanent or complete solution. Our nation needs comprehensive immigration reform that addresses many of the root causes of undocumented immigration,” Carper added, noting the immigration bill passed nearly a year ago by the Senate that has not been taken up by the House. “It even includes a provision that would establish elements of today’s policy as law.”
“But in order for this solution to become law, we need our colleagues in the House to act. Fixing a broken system is far too important to allow partisanship to get in the way, and I continue to urge our House colleagues – Republicans and Democrats alike – to follow the Senate’s bipartisan lead.”