Washington (AFP) – Protections against deportation for some 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children remain in place two days after the DACA program was to expire, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday.
DHA spokesman Tyler Houlton said that people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals can continue to renew their registrations with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, earning a two-year extension of protection.
“In compliance with court injunctions, USCIS is accepting and adjudicating DACA requests for renewals as they are submitted,” Houlton said in a statement.
“This process is in accordance with the longstanding DACA policies on renewals.”
Last September President Donald Trump ordered DACA to be shut down on March 5, threatening the status in the United States of 690,000 people registered under the program, so-called “Dreamers.”
But a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction ordering the government to continue offering DACA protection. With the government’s appeal of that injunction unlikely to be ruled on for months, DHS said DACA recipients could continue to renew their protections, though no one outside the program would be able to join.
Trump, along with a majority of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, has repeatedly pledged to pass legislation that would offer paths to citizenship for DACA registrants and possibly more than a million other people who entered the country illegally as youths and grew up in the United States.
Trump has offered a plan for eventual citizenship to a total of 1.8 million of these Dreamers.
But a series of bills on the issue have failed to pass Congress, with Democrats rejecting Trump’s proposal to tie DACA legislation to a sharp cutback in legal immigration and to funding for a wall along the Mexico border.
On Wednesday, Trump said he still hopes for legislation to replace DACA.
“We’re trying to have a DACA victory,” he said in a speech to the Latino Coalition, a conservative business group.
“The Democrats are nowhere to be found… We’re ready, willing and able,” he said.