Following a meeting with the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, stated in a release on Monday that young adults eligible for the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, could begin the application process on Feb. 18.
About 600,000 immigrants have previously secured deferred action work permits for the U.S. under DACA, the relaxing of the criteria now opens up eligibility to an estimated 270,000 more people. This, the statement added, included children brought to the U.S. before Jan 1, 2010, and those brought here as children that are now more than 31 years, the previous application age limit. Work permits have also been extended to three years, from two.
In addition, parents of immigrants that are now U.S. citizens, who have resided in the United States for at least five years and passed a background check, can begin the application process on May 19. “We will overcome opposition to the President’s Executive Action,” the release quoted Rep. Doggett as stating. “We must let these deserving families thrive, out of the shadows, out of the fear of separation from those they love. This is not only about individual opportunity but about encouraging economic growth for our country.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve an amendment to the DHS funding bill on DACA, which would deny funds for new or renewed for the program. The amendment, which passed 218-209 along party lines, except for 26 Republicans from largely Hispanic-majority districts that voted against the amendment, was one of five that were passed to try and control the White House’s granting amnesty to illegal immigrants by executive action.
The House had previously voted to defund DACA on Aug. 31, last year. The White House responded by expanding it, in November, through an “executive memorandum.” It might be noted that the DHS’ current funding cycle runs only through Feb. 27.