Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is illegal. While those currently in the program are safe, others wishing to apply in the future will now be blocked.
Created in 2012 under the Obama administration, DACA’s sole purpose was to provide a temporary pardon on the deportation of undocumented people who arrive in the U.S. before the age of 16. Before last week’s ruling, DACA was considered one of the only immigration programs that provided relief for those living in the U.S. illegally.
Since its birth, DACA has experienced a roller coaster of events to maintain the program. In 2020, DACA was nearly shut down by the Trump administration. However, after winning a 5-4 supreme court ruling, the program remained. Keeping DACA alive was beneficial for thousands of immigrants who would have faced violent living conditions upon arrival to their home countries.
So, why would a federal judge rule the program to be illegal? Judge Hanen stated that Congress never granted the Department of Homeland Security the authority to build the program. He also went on to rule that DACA didn’t allow for immigration officials to administer removal provisions from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
“Congress has not granted the Executive Branch free rein to grant lawful presence outside the ambit of the statutory scheme,” Judge Hanen wrote in a statement shared by CNN.
President Biden’s Thoughts on the Matter
When the recent DACA news broke to the White House, President Biden responded by calling the court ruling, “deeply disappointing.”
President Biden went on to say, “While the court’s order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision nonetheless relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future. The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA. And, as the court recognized, the Department of Homeland Security plans to issue a proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future.”
The President also offered some hope in the form of his Congressional allies. Given that Democrats hold the majority in both Senate and the House, Congress can still interfere with the ruling and try to relinquish the program. What remains unknown is whether the House and Senate are willing to put in the work needed to keep DACA alive.
What About Those Already Accepted by DACA?
When a person’s application is accepted by DACA, they’re permitted to live and work in the U.S. for two years. Once that time is up, DACA beneficiaries are given the chance to renew status and remain in the states. Fortunately, there are still other ways to obtain legal work opportunities in the U.S. For more information about immigrant and non-immigrant visas, click here.
Without DACA, What Are My Options?
Given the latest news on DACA, a lot of immigrants are fearful they may face deportation. While they have justifiable reasons to be afraid, turning to a trusted immigration lawyer can help bring guidance. At The Law Office of Mana Yegani, our attorney proudly serves the greater Houston area with legal assistance in immigration. She can help with family-based immigration, visa applications, naturalization assistance, and more!
Call (832) 981-2170 to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Mana Yegani today!