On July 16, 2021, nine years after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program began, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the program is unlawful and parts of it must be suspended. Here are the main things to understand after this ruling:
- The status of people currently in the DACA program has not changed.
- People in the program can still pursue renewal of status.
- If your DACA application is pending, USCIS will retain it but is not allowed to approve it.
- If you have never applied for DACA before, you can submit an application but no decision can be made at this time.
- If you have DACA status, you can still request advance parole (travel) if you qualify.
Why Did the Court Say DACA Is Illegal?
To put it in simple terms, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas issued a ruling saying that the Obama administration failed to follow various federal administrative rules when it created the DACA program in 2012. Because the rules weren’t followed back then, the entire 9-year-old program is built on an unlawful foundation and needs to be stopped, according to the judge’s reasoning.
The most serious immediate effect of the ruling is that the Biden administration is not allowed to approve new or pending DACA applications. Renewals are still allowed to proceed, as mentioned above.
What Is DACA?
Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, children of undocumented immigrants are allowed to remain in the U.S. if they meet the program’s qualification requirements.
According to NBC News, government figures show that over 90 percent of DACA participants have a job. Nearly half are in school. In other words, the children brought here under DACA are productive members of society.
What Happens Next?
The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service has stated that it intends to appeal the decision and keep fighting for DACA recipients.
The ruling has reignited calls for immigration reform. Pressure is mounting on Congress to create a permanent legislative fix, not only for DACA recipients but for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. As President Biden stated after the Texas ruling was issued, only “Congress can ensure a permanent solution” that provides Dreamers with a path to citizenship.
Contact a Dallas Immigration Lawyer About DACA Concerns
As a Dallas immigration law firm, we know Dreamers and families are exhausted and frustrated by all the uncertainty around the program. Our attorney, Mark E. Jacobs, is here to answer your questions and help you navigate the situation. Please call 972-445-7577 or contact us online today.