When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, it threw the immigrant community into uncertainty. The executive action by President Obama had enabled hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth to come out of the shadows and fully integrate into their communities by pursuing higher education, obtaining driver’s license, and upgrading jobs.
Although the rescission announcement on September 5th, 2017 gave a hard hit to the immigrant community, the road ahead was pretty straight forward; either Congress had to come up with a solution by May 5th or thousands of immigrant youth would be pushed back into the shadows. Since then, several court cases have required the government to accept DACA renewals, but it’s unclear how those cases will be resolved. Because of all this the situation is complicated, we are here to help learn what is going on.
Early in 2018, two federal judges ruled in favor of DACA. Federal Judges Garaufis of New York and Alsup of California issued injunctions stating the federal government must continue accepting DACA renewals due to the administration not providing appropriate legal justification to end the program. The federal government appealed those decisions.
On August 3, 2018, another judge, D.C. District Court Judge John Bates ruled that the government had failed to properly justify the ending of DACA. He ruled the government must fully reinstate DACA, but delayed his ruling by 20 days, to give the government a chance to appeal. After the federal government submitted another explanation for its reasoning to end DACA, Judge Bates issued an order upholding his initial decision. Nevertheless, Judge Bates partially blocked part of his order that would require that the federal government accept initial DACA applications. Currently, only DACA renewals are being accepted by USCIS. First-time applicants are not able to apply.
Meanwhile, Texas along with other states have challenged the legality of DACA. Their case was heard on August 8th but the judge ordered the parties to return with more information for a future hearing that is yet to be scheduled.
Like a game of ping-pong, these rapid changes are confusing for immigrants and allies. With multiple court hearings and appeals waiting to take place there is no foreseeable timetable or resolution for the matter. These cases might end up going all the way up to the Supreme Court for a resolution.
While new DACA applications are not being accepted, these rulings have at least guaranteed that current DACA recipients can renew their permits. As of now, we are encouraging all eligible DACA recipients to come to our Wednesday Workshop or speak to an attorney to renew as soon as possible.
We have a muddy road ahead, but with your help we can ensure everyone that qualifies for renewal has the resources to do so. Please consider supporting our work to help us support even more DACA recipients with their renewal processes.