AUSTIN (KXAN) — All new requests for work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, will be rejected as the Trump administration determines the future of the program.
A memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released Tuesday said further action could include fully rescinding the DACA program after the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end it in June.
DHS took an additional step to limit the period of renewed applications for DACA recipients from two years to one. Each renewal application costs $465.
DACA allows young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to live and work in the country and avoid deportation. The program was implemented by former President Barack Obama through an executive order in 2012.
“As the Department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter,” said Acting DHS Secretary Chad F. Wolf. “There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy.”
According to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos in February, 64% of “U.S. adult respondents” supported DACA, which protects around 650,000 young immigrants from deportation. More than 109,000 DACA recipients live in Texas, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress in 2019.
When the Supreme Court ruled in June that the termination of DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) demanded Congress find a permanent solution for so-called DREAMers.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the Trump administration could try again, leaving an uncertain future for DACA recipients.
“I think these young people deserve better,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor in June.
“DACA recipients must have a permanent, legislative solution. They deserve nothing less.”
“These young men and women did nothing wrong.”
DACA allowed Pedro Villalobos, a felony prosecutor in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, to attend law school at the University of Texas. He submitted a renewal application for DACA eight months ago, if it isn’t authorized by the time his card expires, he’s legally obligated to stop working.
“I’ve just learned that it’s part of being in this state of limbo,” Villalobos said. “I’ve dedicated my professional career to serving Travis County; to ensure that our criminal justice system is founded on the idea of second chances, rehabilitation, and counseling. To not be a voice in that would be really disappointing to me.”
Asked about the future of DACA on Tuesday, President Trump said: “We’re going to make the DACA people happy,” while promising merit-based immigration reform.
“For me, it’s very frustrating,” said Kassandra Aleman, a deputy training director for the Texas Democratic Party and a DACA recipient. “I go from living life two years at a time and now it’s going to be one year and there’s no end in sight.”
KXAN politics reporter John Engel is talking to DACA recipients in Austin about their uncertain future and will have a full report tonight at 9 and 10 p.m.