The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protects approximately 650,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation. The Trump administration tried to end it, a move that was overturned by the Supreme Court. Now, DACA faces yet another risk, this time from a federal judge in Texas.
The United States District Court in Houston ruled that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created DACA by executive action in 2012. According to the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security failed to seek public comments and otherwise adhere to the Administrative Procedure Act when creating the program. Thus, the program is unlawful.
Even though the judge ruled DACA unlawful, the decision will not have an immediate effect on those already protected by the program. The Department of Homeland Security may also accept new applications, but it cannot approve them. The Biden administration has also vowed to appeal the ruling and find a new way forward in Congress. Protecting DACA is crucial, as the program has saved more than 800,000 young immigrants from deportation since its inception in 2012. According to The New York Times, “about 250,000 U.S.-born children have at least one parent who is enrolled in DACA, and about 1.5 million people in the United States live with a beneficiary of the program.”
Ambitious Immigration Reform
President Biden is currently seeking support for his ambitious immigration plan in Congress. The plan would not only provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers (or DACA recipients) but also allow up to 10 million other immigrants to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation.
While the ideas behind DACA have bipartisan support, Biden’s immigration strategy does not. States like Texas feel they are bearing the burden of immigration, and Republicans are not keen to offer legal status to existing immigrants while new migrants illegally cross the Southwestern border every day.
Still, DACA needs a fighter, now more than ever. The case will likely end up in the Supreme Court, but Dreamers need an official way forward in Congress.
As immigration advocates explain:
“Protecting DACA is the floor, not the ceiling, of what a Biden-Harris administration must do.”
What Dreamers – and Potential Dreamers – Should Do
Immigration advocates have always understood the risks facing DACA and how unstable the program was and remains. For this reason, they have encouraged everyone who is eligible to apply. Although the future of DACA is uncertain, the courts and the federal government are unlikely to turn their back on Dreamers, especially those who are already involved with the program.
If you want to discuss your eligibility for DACA or explore other ways to live and work in the United States legally, Maghzi Law Firm, LLC is here to help. Our team is driven, resourceful, relatable, and experienced – and most of all, we have been where you are, and we are ready to help you move forward.