WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined 30 of her Senate colleagues in a letter led by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf. In the letter, the Senators call on the Trump Administration to immediately comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision rejecting the Administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and requiring the Administration to reopen DACA for new applicants.

“Congress and the American people have not received any information regarding your agency’s compliance with the Court’s holding. It is unclear what steps, if any, USCIS has taken to implement the Supreme Court decision, including receiving and processing initial DACA applications, DACA renewal applications, and requests for advance parole as well as publication of information regarding DACA for new applicants and current recipients,” wrote the Senators.

“The Roberts decision requires your immediate compliance. We await your prompt assurance that you will respect the Court’s decision and reopen DACA for all eligible applicants,” concluded the Senators.

BACKGROUND: Nevada is home to more than 13,000 Dreamers.

In April, Rosen sent a letter calling on U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to grant DACA students equal access to emergency financial aid provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

In June:

  • Rosen, during a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, asked university presidents what actions can be taken to provide relief to DACA recipients, as well as student veterans.
  • Rosen sent a letter requesting the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to investigate whether the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it changed its policy to deny Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured loans to DACA recipients.

  • Rosen joined a webinar with members of the UndocuCouncil from the Nevada Immigrant Coalition to provide an update on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the DACA program.
  • Rosen sent a letter to President Trump following the U.S. Supreme Court decision, urging him to change course and use his executive authority to protect immigrants who are eligible for the DACA program.
  • Rosen sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) calling on him to immediately take up the bipartisan American Dream and Promise Act, which will establish a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).  The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June of 2019 and is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.

In multiple letters, Rosen and her colleagues noted that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas that the Trump Administration’s U.S. Department of Homeland Security identifies as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” This includes an estimated 41,700 DACA recipients working in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:

We call on you to immediately comply with the Supreme Court’s decision rejecting the Trump Administration’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and requiring the Administration to reopen DACA for new applicants.

On June 18, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court held that the Administration’s effort to repeal deportation protections for Dreamers, young immigrants who came to the United States as children, was “arbitrary and capricious.”  Yesterday, 25 days after the Court’s decision, was the deadline for the Administration to file a petition for rehearing.  And last Friday, President Trump said, “I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president and I’m going to make DACA a part of it.” 

However, there is no indication that your agency has taken any steps to fully reinstate DACA protections, as the Court’s decision unequivocally requires.  We have not located a single statement by you or any other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official notifying the public that your agency is complying with the Supreme Court’s decision.  To the contrary, on June 19, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its website to falsely claim that the Supreme Court’s decision has “no basis in law” and attack DACA recipients.  As of today, the USCIS webpage titled “Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” appears to have last been updated on February 14, 2018, and the USCIS “Frequently Asked Questions” page regarding DACA appears to have last been updated on March 8, 2018. 

Your agency has had ample opportunity to prepare for the recent Supreme Court decision. On March 4, 2020, at a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) hearing, you committed to provide Congress with your agency’s plans in preparation for the Supreme Court decision.  On March 20, 2020, 36 Senators and 87 Representatives sent you a letter requesting those plans. 

However, to date, Congress and the American people have not received any information regarding your agency’s compliance with the Court’s holding.  It is unclear what steps, if any, USCIS has taken to implement the Supreme Court decision, including receiving and processing initial DACA applications, DACA renewal applications, and requests for advance parole as well as publication of information regarding DACA for new applicants and current recipients.

The stakes are high.  More than 800,000 Dreamers have come forward and received DACA.  DACA has allowed Dreamers to contribute to our country as soldiers, nurses, teachers, and small business owners.  Even as their own fates remained uncertain due to the Trump Administration’s rescission of DACA, over 200,000 DACA recipients have served as essential workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by teaching children; growing, packaging, cooking, and shipping food; stocking the shelves at grocery stores; and providing healthcare services to those who fall sick. 

Since the Trump Administration rescinded DACA on September 5, 2017, USCIS has not accepted initial DACA applications from Dreamers who are eligible for DACA but have never received this protection.  For example, children who have turned 15, the youngest age at which someone can receive DACA, have been blocked from applying since the DACA rescission.  The Center for American Progress estimates that approximately 300,000 Dreamers who have never received DACA are now eligible to apply for the program, including 55,500 young people who have turned 15 since September 5, 2017.

Now that 25 days have passed, the Roberts decision requires your immediate compliance. We await your prompt assurance that you will respect the Court’s decision and reopen DACA for all eligible applicants. 

Sincerely,

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