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Biden orders Cabinet to preserve DACA

President Joe Biden adjusts his face mask as he signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office
President Biden signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office on Jan. 20.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Biden will order his Cabinet to work to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has shielded hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country as young children from deportation since it was introduced in 2012.

President Trump ordered an end to DACA in 2017, triggering a legal challenge that ended in June when the Supreme Court ruled that it should be kept in place because the Trump administration failed to follow federal rule-making guidelines in undoing it. But DACA is still facing legal challenges.

In his presidential proclamation, Biden is calling on Congress to adopt legislation that gives DACA recipients permanent legal status and a path to citizenship. There are currently about 700,000 people enrolled.

Biden’s signed 17 orders, memorandums and proclamations Wednesday, and six of them dealt with immigration. He also sent to Congress an ambitious immigration bill.

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Taken together, Biden’s plans represent a U-turn after four years of relentless strikes against immigration, captured most vividly by the separation of thousands of children from their parents under a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings. The Trump administration also took hundreds of other steps to enhance enforcement, limit eligibility for asylum and cut legal immigration.

The administration has been mum on a 100-day moratorium on deportations that Biden promised, though he is revoking one of Trump’s earliest executive orders making anyone in the country illegally a priority for deportations. Susan Rice, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said any moratorium would come from the Department of Homeland Security, not the president.


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