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Communities Give Input on Proposed DACA Changes as Deadline Looms


Friday, November 5, 2021   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The deadline for public comments on proposed rule changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is Nov. 29.

Advocates say it is important for students, employers and communities affected by the policy designed to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, to submit their input.

Jazmin Ramirez, Latinx community organizer, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, pointed out among the changes proposed by the Biden administration, individuals could apply for deferred action or employment authorization separately, which would reduce the cost of the application process.

"People can apply for a work permit if they want to, but they don't have to do it," Ramirez explained.

Comments must be submitted online through a federal portal.

The move follows a decision earlier this year by a federal court in Texas, which ruled DACA was unlawful.

Ramirez noted while the federal government has appealed the court ruling, the proposed changes are an attempt to square it with existing legislation. She also emphasized while new applications are no longer being accepted, DACA renewals still are being processed.

The new rule would clarify deferred action granted under DACA would make a person, quote, "lawfully present" but would not authorize them to stay in the U.S. indefinitely.

Ramirez added although advocacy groups welcome the proposed changes, she believes they are only a stopgap solution.

"The only way that we are going to get a permanent solution, without the fear or the constant battling back and forth in courts that the program will end, will be through a pathway to citizenship," Ramirez contended.

Over the past decade, more than 835,000 individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children have been granted DACA status. A 2020 poll found more than 70% of Americans support giving DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship.

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

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