WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) questioned Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), about the current state of the DACA program in the wake of a federal judicial ruling that halted the program, the status of DACA applications submitted before the ruling, and protections for applicants. A transcript of the Senator’s exchange can be found below, and a video of the Senator’s full exchange can be found here.
ROSEN: As you know, DACA and TPS have provided critical protections for thousands of Nevadans. Unfortunately, as you’re also aware, a Texas federal judge ruled just two weeks ago that the DACA program is unconstitutional. [The court] is halting new DACA applications and leaving aspiring Dreamers vulnerable and uncertain about their futures. This situation is an example of why it’s crucial that we immediately pass immigration reform through any means, including the budget reconciliation process.
Secretary Mayorkas, how is this court ruling impacting DACA applications that were submitted prior to the court’s misguided ruling, and what can the Administration do to help individuals who have already submitted their applications and were not processed before July 16th?
MAYORKAS: Senator, thank you very much for your question. As I think you know, I was the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and it was that incredible agency that I led in the implementation of DACA.
I cannot overstate the importance of passing legislation to bring stability to individuals – the youth who qualify for DACA. That is a permanent solution and one that will resonate across the country. The DACA program is so very popular with the American people for all the right reasons.
We are not able to process new applications for DACA or to continue with applications filed in light of the judge’s ruling. We are continuing to litigate that case, and within the bounds of the law, and within the bounds of the judge’s ruling, we are seeking to fortify the DACA program, but there is no substitute for the permanent solution that Congress can deliver.
ROSEN: Thank you. Sometime later, can you provide, in writing, the number of DACA applications that were pending on, or before, the day of that ruling, please, so we have an idea of how many are there?