EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The Department of Homeland Security intends to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects from deportation non-citizens brought to the U.S. as children.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday announced that the agency issued a final rule that proposes to establish regulations to codify the DACA program as outlined during its inception in 2012.

“Today, we are taking another step to do everything in our power to preserve and fortify DACA, an extraordinary program that has transformed the lives of so many ‘Dreamers,'” Mayorkas said. “Thanks to DACA, we have been enriched by young people who contribute so much to our communities and our country. Yet, we need Congress to pass legislation that provides an enduring solution for the young Dreamers who have known no country other than the United States as their own.”

DHS said the rule follows careful review and considers more than 16,000 comments received during the public comment period. This final review codifies the existing DACA policy with minor changes.

The final rule maintains existing threshold criteria for DACA, retains current processes for DACA requestors seeking work authorization, and affirms the longstanding policy that DACA is not a form of lawful status but considers DACA recipients “lawfully present.”

The final rule is effective Oct. 31, 2022.

However, DHS cannot grant initial DACA requests or related employment authorization under the final rule since an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas remains in effect. Because that injunction is partially stayed, DHS said, the agency can grant DACA renewal requests under the final rule.

Since its inception in 2012, DACA has allowed over 800,000 young people to remain in the U.S., the only country many of them have ever known.