Trump Administration Halts New DACA Applications as It Looks for Ways to End Program

A woman holds up a signs in support of the Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, during a 2017 immigration reform rally at the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will reject all new and pending DACA applications while it considers the program’s cancellation. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf said the department will be making changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program immediately in order to “address serious concerns with the policy.”

The Obama-era policy, which was established in 2012, provides protection from deportation to certain undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the U.S. as children. 

The program also grants the right to work to undocumented immigrants who are accepted. 

“As the department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter,” Wolf said in a statement.

“There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy,” he added. 

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Donald Trump’s attempt to end the program. The 5-4 decision — which found the Trump administration’s recission of DACA arbitrary and capricious — came out of just one of many legal battles over the president’s push for anti-immigration policies.

Following the high court’s decision, a federal judge ordered the department to begin accepting new DACA applications. 

Tuesday’s changes to DACA include rejecting all initial requests for DACA and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents, rejecting new and pending requests for advanced parole absent exceptional circumstances and limiting DACA renewals to just one year.

The Department of Homeland Security said it will “take action to thoughtfully consider the future of the DACA policy,” including whether to fully rescind the program.

“When the administration next acts on DACA, it will be the basis of the comprehensive review of the substantive legal and legal policy justifications offered for winding down the program,” a White House official, who wished to remain anonymous, told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday. 

The move is likely to draw legal challenges. But as U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the high court’s ruling on the earlier recission of the program:

“The dispute before the court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.” 

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