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DACA’s 12th Year Sees Harder Lines Against Migration

This week marks 12 years since the Obama administration established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program in June 2012. But time and continued high levels of migration have hardened U.S. migrant policies.

Joe BidenJoe BidenThe program temporarily delayed the deportation of people without documentation who came to the U.S. as children; it also gave those individuals an opportunity to renew their DACA status and work authorization requests. However, recent judicial and administrative actions indicate less lenient migrant policies ahead.

For example, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled against DACA in September 2023, holding that the program was unlawful based on an earlier decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that agreed with the District Court in a similar 2021 decision. Meaning, those who obtained DACA on or before July 16, 2021 — an estimated 616,000 — may still be protected but others may not.

Most recently, President Joe Biden took a harder line against asylum seekers at the border — partly in response to Congress’s inability to enact new immigration law.

This month, the Biden administration unveiled executive action authorizing U.S. immigration officials to deport large numbers of migrants without processing their asylum claims. The measure suspends the entry of most migrants at the southern border.

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