What will Joe Biden do with DACA? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Let’s talk a little bit about DACA and what might happen when the Biden-Harrison administration takes over in January of 2021.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program came about after President Obama was extremely frustrated with the fact that certain Republican hardliners in the Congress refused to allow the DREAM Act to go to a floor vote. It represented an effort by the Obama administration to do administratively what they weren’t able to do legislatively. That is, to protect young people who came to the United States through no fault of their own as young people and have lived their lives as if they were citizens their whole life, and who’ve done nothing wrong and who wanted to be able to go to school and get a job. The Obama administration put DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in place. It was a great success. There are young people who have been able to really get their lives on track, to come out of the shadows, to get jobs, and to work, and to live fuller lives. Not full lives, but fuller lives, than they were before.
President Trump, although he said during the campaign in 2016 that he wasn’t going to do it, he rescinded DACA. But the clowns at USCIS weren’t able to rescind it properly. They made a lot of mistakes in their efforts to try to kill off DACA. Crafty lawyers who love and care about immigrants were able to stop the DACA cessation, the end of DACA in the courts to at least keep it on life support.
It’s expected that when Joe Biden comes back in, he will reinstate DACA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if he expands it a little bit, to make it more helpful for people that got cut off from the start dates or the end dates. I think that DACA might very well get expanded. That should be exciting.
But the most important thing is that those people who have been living here under fear of the rescission of the cancellation of the DACA program will know that at least temporarily there’ll be safe. Now, whether we see any kind of meaningful immigration reform in Congress will depend on the outcome of those Georgia elections to see who gets control of the Senate. But even if the Democrats are able to get 50 senators and have the tiebreaker with Kamala Harris, the vice president sitting in the Senate, it’ll still be legislatively difficult to get meaningful immigration reform with such slim margins. But the long and the short of it is, DACA will be back. Those young people, now young adults, will be protected and they’ll be able to continue their lives in the United States, not worrying about being deported right away.
Now, it shows you what a political football they are. They’re on this rollercoaster of Trump’s trying to kick us out, Biden’s trying to save us. It just represents the fact that DACA is a paltry solution, a poor solution for these very fine people who want just want to stay in the United States, follow the law, and build their lives. Hopefully, we’ll get some meaningful immigration reform, but in the short term, DACA will be back.
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