By: Jacqueline Valle
On Friday, July 16, 2021, Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program violated the Administrative Procedures Act and should be suspended. The program has survived other legal challenges, including President Trump’s attempts to shut it down. The ruling will only affect future DACA applicants and potential recipients.
DACA, an Obama-era policy, allows certain undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as minors to stay in the country with work authorization for two-year increments. The program is for undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before they turned sixteen years old and were under the age of thirty-one on June 15, 2012, the date the program was created. The 616,000 current DACA recipients will not be affected by the court decision.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that it will continue to process all renewal applications, employment authorization extensions, and advance parole requests that have already been submitted by current DACA recipients. Under the new court order, USCIS will continue to accept first-time requests for DACA but will not be able to process them.
The continued legal battle has resulted in increased pressure for Congress to write legislation to back up the DACA program, and the case is expected to be appealed.
USCIS will likely issue new guidance for DACA recipients following the court decision. The Chugh, LLP immigration team will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.