Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from its efforts to dismantle an Obama administration program that would smooth the way for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were children. Now, a federal judge has alleged that the Trump administration has essentially ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling, continuing to deny work permits to immigrants who are eligible for them.
What is DACA?
The program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was put into law in 2012. It is intended to make work permits and other privileges available for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by relatives or other adults when they were children. These immigrants, sometimes known as Dreamers, were encouraged to enroll in the program as a way to bring them into the mainstream of society. Without work permits and other documentation, they could not legally work in the United States or take advantage of certain educational opportunities.
As part of its wide-ranging crackdown on immigration, the Trump administration tried to end DACA, but the past June the Supreme Court found its efforts illegal and ordered it to continue the program and allow enrollees to receive work permits. This month, a federal court found that the Department of Homeland Security had instead quietly ordered agents to not take new applications under the program. The court ruled that this order was invalid.
Ever-changing immigration law
The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden is expected to fully restore DACA, but the events of the past few years show how immigration law can change very quickly.
Even in the best of times, the U.S. immigration system can be extremely complicated. People who are trying to get work permits and other documentation should seek out help from immigration attorneys who keep up with the frequent changes in immigration policy and the law.