On Friday September 10, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an appeal against a July 10 Houston Court ruling in which first-time Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants were barred from applying for the program. The suspension is blocking around 80,000 new applications from young adults who were brought to the country illegally as children – all of whom may be at risk of deportation.
Those already holding DACA are not affected by the ruling from Judge Andrew Hanen, but it has affected those wishing to renew – with the court ruling causing a backlog of renewal applications and leaving many without valid work permits.
To be eligible for the DACA, first brought in by Obama in 2012, applicants must have been under age 31 as of June, 15, 2012; have been brought to the United States before their 16th birthday; have continuously lived in the country since June 15, 2007; and be enrolled in school, have graduated or have obtained a general education development (GED) diploma. Currently, this would mean the the oldest DACA recipients are 40 and the youngest are 16.
DACA offers protection from deportation and work permits to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children.
The case will be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously upheld a 2015 decision, also from Judge Hanen, blocking Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens.
Since the DACA program wasn’t authorized by Congress but instead by executive order, Hanen argued in his original ruling that it was unlawful. Biden has since renewed calls for Congress to provide a path to citizenship for DACA enrollees. The program has weathered legal challenges in the past, notably from former President Donald Trump’s administration, whose attempt to end the program was blocked by the Supreme Court.
© Margaret W. Wong & Associates 2021. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.