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Today, we have come to you with an important update regarding the Deferred Action for  Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program which allowed nearly 700,000 undocumented  immigrants who came to the United States as children to legally live and work here without fear  of deportation. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA, the Obama-era  program is unlawful and blocked new applicants. The ruling from Judge Andrew Hanen would  bar future applications, but it does not immediately cancel current permits for hundreds of  thousands of people. According to several news outlets, the Department of Homeland Security  can no longer approve DACA applications or grant applicants the protections DACA provides.  Hanen concluded that DACA, is unlawful because it violates the Administrative Procedure Act,  which governs federal rulemaking, by evading the normal “notice and comment” process in  adopting new rules. 

DACA is a 2012 program started by former President Barack Obama. As  aforementioned, the program enabled nearly 700,000 qualifying young people to legally work,  go to college, get health insurance, and obtain a driver’s license without the threat of deportation.  DACA recipients are young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents  without legal documentation. The Trump administration closed DACA to new applicants in 2017  and unsuccessfully tried to dismantle it in its entirety. But several federal courts, including the  Supreme Court, found that its attempts to end the program violated administrative law. DACA  was reopened to new applications in December 2020 after a federal court order. 

In a statement released by the White House on Saturday, President Joe Biden has already promised to appeal Friday’s decision and reiterated that DHS is planning to issue a proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future and called for “permanent solution” for the DREAMers. If  signed into law, the American Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House earlier this year,  would provide a “conditional permanent and resident status” for several categories of  immigrants, including DREAMers and Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries, putting them  on the path to citizenship. There’s no doubt that Friday’s ruling is a major setback for  prospective DACA applicants for prospective DACA applicants, their allies, and the Biden  administration, which has vowed to defend the Obama-era initiative. 

Often the U.S. is the only home these Dreamers have ever known. DACA empowered  undocumented youths to step out of the shadows and contribute to our communities in  immeasurable ways – from serving in our military to being on the front lines of the coronavirus  pandemic. In matters concerning the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Law, The Law Offices of Marjory Cajoux is here to alleviate your concerns and answer your immigration-related  questions. You can depend on us to stay ahead of immigration developments and keep you  informed. 

Additional Resources: 

Judge orders U.S. to close DACA program to new applicants, calling it illegal

Federal judge blocks new applications to DACA