Weeks after the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the White House announced Tuesday it would reject all new applications for the program and shorten the length of renewals from two years to one for the more than 650,000 DACA recipients.
A day later, on Wednesday, White House officials then clarified that the current limits on the Obama-era program, which prevents the deportation of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, is a “temporary measure until next steps are determined,” reported CNN.
But, as U.S. News noted Tuesday, the Trump administration’s decision to reject new applications “is legally questionable and certain to face swift legal challenges.” Already, in a House hearing on Wednesday morning, Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal challenged Joseph Edlow, a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services official, who is in charge of running the agency responsible for processing DACA applications.
“Mr. Edlow, I understand you don’t agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, but do you believe compliance with the Supreme Court is a choice?” Jayapal asked Edlow, according to CNN.
“Supreme Court compliance is not a choice, however, the mandate did not enter until last week,” answered Edlow, who then said he did not issue the memo and neither was he consulted when the memo was created. Nonetheless, he said, the agency would still hold applications while it “determined next steps.”
“You do not get to decide whether or not you’re going to comply with the Supreme Court order,” responded Japayal. “You’ve had a month since the Supreme Court’s decision to change your processing applications and make sure you comply with that order.”
Later on in the hearing, Edlow then said the USCIS would release additional guidance “in the coming days as to how we’ll be responding to every type of application.”
The United States has more than 450,000 undocumented students, 216,000 of whom are eligible for DACA, according to a report in April.