On Friday, US District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful because Congress had never provided the executive branch with the powers to grant broad benefits to unauthorized immigrants in the United States.
“As popular as this program might be, the proper origination point for the DACA program was, and is, Congress.”
In his ruling, Judge Hanen also said the Obama administration failed to seek public comment on DACA before adopting it.
What is the Impact?
- Friday’s ruling bars the Biden administration from approving new DACA applications.
- However, current DACA recipients will not be immediately affected due to the significant disruption the program’s suspension would cause.
- Current recipients will also be able to renew their status under the program.
What to Expect?
USCIS is taking immediate steps to comply with Friday’s order. DHS will continue to accept the filing of both initial and renewal DACA requests, as well as accompanying requests for employment authorization. However, DHS is prohibited from granting initial DACA requests and accompanying requests for employment authorization. Also consistent with the order, DHS will continue to grant or deny renewal DACA requests, according to existing policy.
On Saturday, President Biden said the Justice Department would appeal the ruling in an effort to preserve and secure the DACA program. He also echoed his earlier calls for Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, noting their role in ensuring a permanent solution and path to citizenship for Dreamers.
The DACA program, introduced in June 2012, grants temporary protection to unauthorized immigrants in the United States who were 30 years old or younger when the program launched. DACA recipients would have to be present in the US by 2007, before turning 16 years old, and met other conditions, including educational requirements. Recipients are eligible for work authorization. Recent data indicate that there were approximately 636,390 DACA recipients as of December 31, 2020.