The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it will not accept any new applications for a program that shields from deportation people who were brought to the country illegally as children, drawing criticism from immigrant rights advocates and Democrats in Congress.
Acting Secretary Chad Wolf wrote in a memo he is launching a review of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and that in addition to rejecting new applications during that time, his agency is also allowing current participants to renew their status and work permits for only one year instead of the previous two-year periods.
A third restriction will not allow existing participants to travel and re-enter the United States under a system called advanced parole, unless in cases of “exceptional circumstances.”
President Donald Trump tried to end the DACA program that was enacted by his predecessor President Barack Obama in 2012, but the Supreme Court ruled last month that the Trump administration did not follow proper procedures in shutting it down.
There are about 650,000 people who are part of DACA. To qualify, they had to have come to the United States before their 16th birthday, been in the country continuously since mid-2007, be under the age of 31 in mid-2012, have no felony or significant misdemeanor convictions, pose no national security threat, and have either a high school diploma, been enrolled in school, or have a record of service in the U.S. military.