On his first day in office, President Joseph R. Biden signed a memorandum for the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security ordering them to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA). DACA was instituted by President Obama, terminated by President Trump, and restored by the judiciary. With this proclamation, it seems clear that the government should at least return DACA to the status quo ante and continue to follow the relevant court order:
- Accept first-time requests for deferred action;
- Accept renewal requests for deferred action;
- Accept applications for advance parole documents;
- Extend one-year grants of deferred action to two years; and
- Extend one-year employment authorization documents to two years.
In a separate Order, President Biden also extended Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and employment authorization for Liberians until June 3, 2022.
In the meantime, the Biden Administration has also proposed an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws. This proposed legislation includes, among many other things, benefits for DACA recipients and migrants in Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS beneficiaries are individuals from countries ravaged by natural disasters or political unrest who cannot return to their homes. Like DACA recipients, TPS beneficiaries have been in limbo for years as the Trump Administration attempted to terminate that status while recipients and immigration advocates have supported litigation to keep those protections in place.
It has been reported that the proposed immigration overhaul includes the immediate ability of “Dreamers” and TPS beneficiaries to apply for Green Cards (assuming they meet eligibility requirements) followed by a three-year path to citizenship.
Jackson Lewis will continue to follow developments and provide updates as they become available.