The DACA roller coaster is unfortunately not yet over. Despite the fact that several courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, reinstated DACA last year after President Trump cancelled the program, and despite the fact that President Biden has made it a priority to create a path toward citizenship for DACA beneficiaries, the status of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children remains in peril. Today, a federal judge in Texas v. U.S. determined that the DACA program violates the law and must be blocked. The order states that the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) may continue to accept new DACA applications and renewal DACA applications, but that the agency is legally prohibited from approving either application. While it is no consolation, the order explicitly does not affect those who currently have approved DACA, but prevents them from being able to extend their DACA further.
The decision will almost certainly be appealed and the question of DACA may again go up to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court’s decision reinstating DACA in DHS v. Regents of the University of California issued on June 18, 2020 did not fully resolve the legality of the DACA program. It merely concluded that President Trump did not provide a “reasoned explanation” for cancelling the program and left open the door for cancelling the program using a better reason.
Today’s decision highlights the need for Congress to act and pass legislation to permanently legalize the status of hundreds of thousands of DACA beneficiaries. Until Congress acts, their fate will continue to be in jeopardy, subject to the whims of various courts.
Please contact an experienced attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. if you have DACA and want to discuss the impact of this case on your status or want to explore other options for legalizing your status.