Comments submitted on proposed rule on DACA

On November 29, our program submitted public comments voicing our support for a proposed rule regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). The comments, which were primarily crafted by the HLS Immigration Project and the Harvard Representation Initiative, also advocate for updates to the proposed rule in order to further protect the rights of current and potential DACA recipients. Thousands of immigrants’ rights supporters from across the country submitted comments, including Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow.

Our program strongly supports a number of aspects of the current proposed rule. In our comments, we highlight the move to recognize DACA recipients as “lawfully present,” which could help DACAmented individuals access certain public benefits and prevent them from accruing unlawful presence. Additionally, we applaud the proposed rule for allowing DACA recipients returning with advance parole to satisfy the “inspected and admitted or paroled” requirement for adjustment of status purposes.

In addition to passing the proposed rule, we recommend that it should be further expanded and updated. We argue that DACA should be broadened to aid more individuals, including those who have arrived after 2007 and those who have fallen out of non-immigrant status since June 15, 2012. We also call for the rule to be updated in order to strengthen protections for current DACA recipients by establishing automatic renewals and expanding advance parole.

Enacting this proposed rule would be a step in the right direction, however, more needs to be done to support DACAmented and undocumented young people. We call on Congress to create a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and others who came to the US as children.

Image by Susan Simensky Bietila.