A recent decision by a Texas federal judge has dealt a blow to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the United States, which currently provides protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants. With the judge’s ruling that the program is illegal, the program will no longer be accepting new applicants, and the status of those who are currently in the program could also come into question.
The DACA Program
In 2012, then-President Obama created the DACA program in order to provide a reprieve from deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Many of these Dreamers–a term frequently used to refer to those protected by DACA–are now adults. Since the program was created, more than 800,000 Dreamers have been accepted.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump tried shutting down the program, but was barred from doing so by a number of legal actions. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court finally ruled that the Trump administration could not dissolve the program since it had failed to provide a sufficient justification to end the program.
The Federal Court Decision
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the DACA program put an undue burden on states. All parties argued their case in December 2020, but the judge overseeing the lawsuit did not announce his decision until July.
In the ruling, the judge stated that Congress had not granted the Department of Homeland Security or the executive branch the authority to create the DACA program. The judge went on to state that the creation of the program had actually prevented immigration officials from enforcing the Immigration and Nationality Act by not allowing officials to deport those in the DACA program. Although the judge did say that the program was illegal and no new recipients could be accepted into the program, he stopped short of taking action against those who are currently enrolled.
The Biden Administration said that it intends to appeal the judge’s decision; however, both President Biden and his Secretary of Homeland Security urged Congress to act swiftly in getting legislation passed that will end all of these legal battles and give the Dreamers more clearly defined protection.
Contact a DuPage County Immigration Attorney for Legal Assistance
This ruling is yet another concerning development for Dreamers. If you are enrolled in the DACA program and you have questions or concerns about your status in light of this ruling, a dedicated Itasca, IL immigration lawyer can help. Call Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C. at 630-875-1700 to schedule a confidential consultation. Se habla español.