‘Documented dreamers’ joined by a group of lawmakers on Monday expressed disappointment over their exclusion from the proposed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals rules which preserve and fortify protection for certain undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.
Documented dreamers are children of long-term visa holders who often wait years for a green card and face deportation if they do not receive legal immigration status after turning 21, when they lose dependent status.
The US Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The move became necessitated after a Texas federal judge struck down an Obama-era version of the programme.
The proposed rule would maintain the same eligibility criteria as the 2012 programme, which provides work permits and deportation protections to people without legal status who entered the US prior to June 15, 2012, and who were born after June 16, 1981.
The rule, however, leaves the documented dreamers, who are mostly Indian-Americans who came to the country legally as children of H-1B parents and are facing deportation after being aged out.
“DACA has helped thousands of dreamers and for that reason, I am very glad it exists to protect the most vulnerable who have grown up here. However, it has to be one of the most unjust and nonsensical immigration policies to exist,” Dip Patel, founder of Improve The Dream, said.
In a statement, Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas said the Biden-Harris administration continues to take action to protect the documented dreamers and recognise their contributions to this country.
“This notice of proposed rulemaking is an important step to achieve that goal. However, only the Congress can provide permanent protection. I support the inclusion of immigration reform in the reconciliation bill and urge the Congress to act swiftly to provide the dreamers the legal status they need and deserve,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congressman Deborah Ross also expressed disappointment that the proposed rule does not include protection for the documented dreamers.
“While I am very glad the administration is taking steps to protect the dreamers, we must include the documented dreamers in our work on immigration reform,” she said.