According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), nearly 50,000 illegal aliens are requesting a deportation deferral under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era program had been previously closed to new applicants after President Trump attempted to phase out the program in 2017 but was reopened to first-time applicants in December.
As of 2020, there were 636,390 active recipients of DACA. From January to March 2021, USCIS received 95,042 requests for renewal and 49,921 first-time applications. As of March 31, there were more than 55,000 pending first-time applications.
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that as of December 2020, at least 1,331,000 illegal aliens are eligible for the program. Under DACA, recipients receive temporary deportation protection, work permits and Social Security cards. It is important to note that because the age requirements were put in place in 2012, no DACA recipient or DACA-eligible alien is a minor as of 2021 as their ages span from 24 to 40 years old.
Despite the reopening of the program, DACA’s future is uncertain as its constitutionality is still in limbo in the courts. Before creating the program with a mere executive memo in 2012, then-President Obama admitted that such a program was beyond his constitutional authority.
The State of Texas, backed by several other states, sued the federal government over the constitutionality of the program. The case is still undecided; however, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen is expected to rule that DACA is indeed unconstitutional.
In the meantime, DACA continues to fuel the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. The number of unaccompanied alien minors (UAC) and family units crossing illegally are spiking to record heights. As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden promised to push for amnesty legislation that would grant DACA recipients lawful status and a quick path to citizenship. As a result, nearly 80,000 UAC have been apprehended so far in Fiscal Year 2021, with the bulk of those apprehensions occurring since President Biden took office in January.
DACA should be eliminated altogether as it is arguably not only unconstitutional according to Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, but it also encourages more illegal immigration and sets a precedent for lawlessness.