President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with 11 Democratic legislators from the Hispanic Caucus on Thursday to discuss the future of the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The meeting will come after a federal court in Texas dealt a severe blow to the program that protects from deportation more than 650,000 young people who came to the United States at the hands of their parents without authorization, when they were still children.
Among the legislators who will attend are Senators Dick Durbin, Bob Menéndez, Catherine Cortez Masto, Alex Padilla; and the representatives Ray Luján, Raul Ruiz, Linda Sánchez, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Pete Aguilar.
Vice President Kamala Harris met last week with DACA recipients, as well as similarly-situated immigrants who did not qualify for this program, in which she heard how the latest court decision was affecting them.
The judicial measure prevents the Government from continuing to process new applications after considering that the program is illegal, although it allows people who are already in the program to renew their protection, after considering that “it would not be fair to suddenly end a government program that it has created such a remarkable dependency ”.
Biden has promised that the government will appeal Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling to the Supreme Court. If the measure is reversed by a higher court, the Administration could approve new DACA requests. But it is not clear that the court, with a conservative majority, will maintain the program.
For this reason, activists and legal experts argue that the best way to protect the fate of the dreamers would be through a legislative package, whose authority could not be questioned by the courts like that of an executive order.
The program was created in 2012 thanks to an executive order from the then president, Barack Obama. But Republicans have challenged him numerous times, claiming he had exceeded his executive powers.
The recent court decision has pushed for the approval of a law that definitively protects Dreamers, which has been blocked in Congress for years.
[“If you have DACA, you keep your DACA”: who are affected by the ruling of a federal judge against the program that protects dreamers]
“I have repeatedly asked Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and now I renew that call with the utmost urgency. It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally bring security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear, “Biden said on the day the court’s ruling was released in Texas.
Democrats introduced an ambitious social program in the Senate in early July that could include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and possibly also essential and farmworkers.
This measure could be approved through a reconciliation procedure, a legislative modality of very limited use that would allow it to be carried out despite Republican obstruction. That is expected to be one of the points Biden and the group of Democratic lawmakers will touch on Thursday.