Biden administration's work to protect DACA program applauded by Chicago immigrants rights groups

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Biden administration is promising to "preserve and fortify" the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by creating a rule to recreate the program. Immigrant rights organizations in Chicago are applauding the move.

"For Homeland Security to write this program into federal regulation is an important to make sure this program stays in place," said Fred Tsao, the senior policy counsel for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

A federal judge in Texas this summer found the program to be unlawful and blocked the government from approving new applications due to how it was implemented.

"We had submitted over 30 DACA applications for new applicants before the ruling from Texas and unfortunately every single one of them did not come back yet in terms of having an approval," said Erendira Rendon, the vice president of immigrant advocacy and defense for The Resurrection Project.

More than 825,000 immigrants have enrolled in DACA since it was established in 2012. It has been the subject ongoing litigation.

Rendon said she applied for DACA in 2012.

"I have it almost 10 years. It allowed me to have a career and to be able to help my parents," she said.

Tsao said it could take a few months before the new program goes into effect. But he warned the legal challenges against DACA will likely continue.

"You know just as the State of Texas and all these other state officials challenged the DACA program, nothing is stopping them from challenging this program again."

Hwangchan Yu, a DACA recipient and HANA Center organizer, said the program isn't a long-term solution. He's pushing for Congress to pass immigration reform.

"DACA is not the complete solution that I'm looking for," he said. "For me I'm looking for a pathway to citizenship."
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