On July 16th, 2021, a federal court overseen by Judge Hanen in Texas ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program is unlawful because the Department of Homeland Security did not properly follow the mandated rule-making process as proscribed in the Administrative Procedures Act.
Other federal courts, however, had already determined that the DACA program was lawful. In fact, because a federal judge in New York had ordered USCIS to accept new DACA applications, Judge Hanen’s order did not require the USCIS to reject new applications. Rather, he prohibited any further processing of new applications, placing them in limbo.
Importantly, this federal decision does not immediately affect DACA renewal applications. The government plans to appeal the decision and will continue to accept renewal DACA applications although it will not grant initial (new) DACA requests at this time.
The Obama Administration introduced the DACA program in 2012, which allowed certain undocumented immigrants who had arrived as children to live in this U.S. without fear of deportation. It also allowed applicants to work legally. The DACA program has also helped the U.S. economy. One resource reports that DACA recipients have contributed nearly 430 billion dollars to GDP over the past ten years.
Because the DACA program is controlled by the executive branch, it can be changed or eliminated with any change of presidential administration. Indeed, the Trump administration attempted to completely eradicate the DACA program, but was unsuccessful thanks to court orders. This new effort to stop the program by anti-immigrant forces makes clear that congress needs to pass the DREAM Act for a permanent solution to this dilemma.
If you would like to be an active part of this issue and support Dreamers, contact your senator asking for a permanent solution that ensures the future of DACA recipients.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-393-4917, text us using our chat box, or complete our contact form.