Today, we have come to you with an important update regarding the Deferred Action for  Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that 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