Although the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was originally issued by the Obama Administration in 2012, this hasn’t stopped Texas and other GOP-dominated states from attempting to put an end to this “Dreamers” program ever since.
The DACA program has helped more than 830,000 immigrants and their loved ones live and work safely in the U.S. In early 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration announced their plan to expand health coverage for DACA recipients, offering many noncitizens hope for continued security and well-being as the American economy continues to be impacted by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a motion to halt the DACA program in Texas—yet another try in a years-long effort to tighten immigration restrictions and increase difficulties for hardworking immigrants and their families. If successful, Paxton’s actions will negatively affect a staggering number of immigrants, affecting the lives of almost 100,000 Texans.
Republican-Led States Join the Fight to Stop “Unlawful” DACA Program
Nine other GOP-led states have joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the fight to end the DACA program, although this conjoined effort is nothing new.
In 2021, federal judge Andrew Hanen ruled in favor of Texas and eight other states claiming that DACA is not only inherently unconstitutional, but has inflicted serious financial harm after being “illegally implemented” in 2012.
However, the same federal judge permitted the DACA program to resume with additional limitations in 2022, leading many to wonder what 2023 will hold for this longstanding immigration program for deserving American Dreamers.
DACA: A Program for American Dreamers
For over a decade, the DACA program has helped its many recipients—commonly known as “Dreamers”—by improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people in the United States.
The DACA program provides unauthorized immigrants with many invaluable benefits to lead safe, happy lives in the U.S., including:
- Protection from Deportation – The primary benefit of DACA is its ability to protect eligible noncitizens from deportation. Since its initiation in 2012, the program has helped approximately 800,000 Dreamers who entered the U.S. as children.
- Eligibility for Employment – Another benefit of the DACA program is that it allows eligible individuals to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs). With a valid EAD, DACA recipients can work legally in the United States, which increases their ability to provide for themselves and their families. This also helps boost the U.S. economy by adding more skilled workers to the workforce.
- Access to Higher Education – DACA recipients are eligible for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities across the country. This allows them to access higher education and achieve their academic goals, leading to better career opportunities and higher wages.
- Eligibility for Social Security & Driver’s License – DACA provides recipients with the opportunity to obtain Social Security numbers and valid driver's licenses, allowing them to legally apply for lines of credit and certain government benefits.
When Can We Expect a Final Ruling on DACA?
The timeline and outcome of the upcoming federal ruling are impossible to predict. Still, given that DACA has persisted since 2012 despite efforts from GOP-dominated states, we can only assume that even if Brownsville-based judge Andrew Hanen rules in support of GOP members' claims that DACA is unlawful, the decision will likely be appealed in a higher court. Whatever the result, one thing is for sure: the fight for Dreamers and immigration reform is far from over.
Fiercely Advocating for the Rights of Texas Immigrants
At The Law Office of Mana Yagandi, we have over a decade of experience helping Texas immigrants and their loved ones resolve a wide range of immigration disputes. From family-based petitions to airport detention, we understand firsthand how discriminatory U.S. immigration matters can be. That’s why our firm is committed to providing Texans with strong representation to protect their loved ones and live the American dream they’ve fought so hard to achieve.
Immigration law is complex, making it all the more crucial to consult with a skilled lawyer who can use their in-depth legal knowledge and specialized skills to advocate on your behalf. Fortunately, our tight-knit legal team has a proven track record of successfully representing noncitizens in Houston and beyond. Reach out to our office to learn how we can collaborate with you to protect your liberties and restore your peace of mind.
Are you a Dreamer wishing to retain your American freedom? Our determined Houston immigration lawyer can help. Call (832) 981-2170 to request a consultation.