Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is unhappy with the Biden administration following the release of a quarterly report of statistics related to applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
According to the report, the administration has approved just 763 initial DACA applications since January, with more than 55,000 applications still pending. This is in addition to more than 44,000 pending renewal applications.
"The slow rate of processing DACA applications – both initial requests and renewals – is simply unacceptable," Durbin said in a statement. "DACA processing delays are harming Dreamers, as well as their families, livelihoods and security. The Biden administration must work expeditiously to expand processing capacity and eliminate the DACA application backlog."
This is not the first time Durbin, lead author of the DREAM Act that would codify DACA, has chastised the Biden administration for its lack of action. Earlier this month, he and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., led 19 other Senate Democrats in calling for the administration to act faster.
"DACA processing delays have significant consequences, not just for individuals depending on the status for their livelihoods and security, but for their families and for the businesses and workplaces that employ them," the senators wrote in a letter to Tracy Renaud, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. "As we work to build back our economy from the effects of the pandemic, reducing backlogs and processing delays for DACA cases is of the utmost importance."
That letter was sent on June 15, the ninth anniversary of DACA. That same day, protesters in Washington, D.C., called for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and slammed the administration for not acting.
"President Biden promised to take action within the first 100 days of being elected," a rally leader said. "What a change of tone, right? When it was just [this] past week when we heard Vice President Kamala Harris say, ‘Do not come. Do not come.’"