The Biden administration finalized a rule to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy into federal regulation.
The 453-page rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is scheduled to take effect on Oct. 31.
The DACA program – which has been governed by a 2012 memo for a decade – has allowed unauthorized immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to live and work in the country legally without fear of deportation. These individuals are referred to as Dreamers. As of Mar. 31, 611,270 immigrants were enrolled. Last year, a federal judge in Texas had closed the program to new applicants.
"Today, we are taking another step to do everything in our power to preserve and fortify DACA, an extraordinary program that has transformed the lives of so many Dreamers," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. "Thanks to DACA, we have been enriched by young people who contribute so much to our communities and our country."
Yet, the program is not entirely out of hot water. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue an opinion on DACA this year and is expected to side with arguments that DACA is unlawful. But the Biden administration could appeal higher to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Biden urged lawmakers to legalize Dreamers in a statement.
"I will do everything within my power to protect Dreamers, but Congressional Republicans should stop blocking a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers," Biden said. "It is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for our economy and our communities."