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After a federal district court found the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit now has issued a ruling affirming the lower court’s decision on appeal. The Fifth Circuit has granted a temporary stay to the DACA program, as it has remanded the case to the district court to consider a new rule concerning DACA that the Biden administration has issued. However, it is unclear how long this reprieve from potential deportation, which benefits only current DACA recipients, will continue.
The new rule, which went into effect on October 31, 2022, attempts to address some of the concerns that the U.S. Supreme Court previously raised about the legal validity of DACA. As the legal battle over the program’s legitimacy continues, advocates continue to emphasize the need for a permanent solution for DACA, which can only come in the form of federal legislation.
DACA, which former President Barack Obama established via executive order in 2012, ran into trouble in September 2017 when then-President Donald Trump announced that he was ending the program. Trump called on Congress to pass a permanent form of DACA as part of a larger immigration legislation package. However, Congress failed to act, and immigration advocates sued to block the program’s termination. That suit eventually found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in June 2020 that Trump had violated federal law by terminating the program via memorandum in 2017.
Meanwhile, in 2018, the state of Texas, along with seven other like-minded states, forged ahead with a lawsuit alleging that DACA is illegal, that it harms U.S. citizens because it enables DACA recipients to compete with them for jobs, and that the states must pay their expenses for healthcare, education, and social services. About 100,000 DACA recipients live in the state of Texas, which is the third largest state population in the nation.
In an August 2018 decision, a Texas federal judge found that DACA likely was unlawful and barred the U.S. government from continuing to accept new DACA applications. However, the judge allowed current DACA recipients to keep their current status and for the federal government to continue to process renewal applications. Ultimately, in July 2021, a Texas federal district judge agreed with the state, finding that DHS had no legal authority to enact DACA and that the program was illegal. This ruling led to the appeal to the Fifth Circuit, which has now issued its decision on the issue.
For help with all your immigration law needs, don’t hesitate to contact our offices at (919) 833-0840 and see how we can help. We offer comprehensive legal representation for individuals, families, and employers in all types of immigration law cases.