July 2021 – Once again, the lives of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients across the country have been placed in legal limbo as a result of a ruling out of a Texas court.
DACA, remember, is a program created by the Obama administration in 2012, giving a work permit and Social Security Number to noncitizens who entered the United States before their 16th birthday and meet a number of other requirements. On Friday, Judge Andrew Hanen, in tandem with six other states, ruled DACA unlawful, claiming yet again the Obama administration overstepped in creating the DACA program. Judge Hanen cushioned the blow of this stay of the DACA program by allowing current recipients to continue renewing. However, the decision impacts initial applicants, including those with cases already in process following the December Supreme Court decision, blocking USCIS from granting those requests for DACA.
Many DACA recipients breathed a huge sigh of relief when President Biden took office, immediately taking steps to undo harm done by the Trump administration and pushing for a path to citizenship for DACA, TPS and farmworkers.
While this decision is yet another legal blow for DACA, it’s not entirely unexpected. Advocates across the nation knew another challenge to DACA was possible and, therefore, have been pushing Congress to act to enact a permanent solution and path to citizenship for DACA recipients among other similarly-vulnerable noncitizens. Congress’s failure to act makes Judge Hanen’s decision all the more frustrating. Congress has the opportunity to protect DACA, TPS and farmworkers from decisions like this, but has been stuck in the usual battle for bipartisan support.
Now is the time for Congress to act. This is the only home many Dreamers (DACA recipients) have ever known. It’s time Congress takes action to protect their right to live and thrive in the United States. Please take a minute today to email or call your Congressperson and Senators:
Sarah E. Yore-Van Oosterhout, Esq.
Founder & Managing Attorney at Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates
What is the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Program?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a policy created by the Obama administration in 2012. Individuals that apply for and are approved for DACA are granted eligibility for a work permit and Social Security Number, as well as protection from deportation. The protection and benefits are granted to noncitizens who entered the United States before their 16th birthday and meet a number of other requirements in two-year increments.