The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program continues to be in a state of flux. Announced in 2012 by President Obama, the policy grants a deferral from deportation for two years to some immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. After two years, recipients can seek a renewal provided they have no serious misdemeanors or felonies. To date, the program has protected around 700,000 people from deportation. However, two recent court cases have rendered the future of DACA less clear.
Just last week, a federal district judge in Washington, D.C. ordered that the Trump administration cannot close down the DACA program. Going even farther, the judge ordered that the government begin accepting new DACA applicants.
Judge John Bates ruled that the Trump Administration did not have adequate legal justification for shutting down the program. As such, the Administration violated the Administrative Practices Act. However, the judge also stated that the Department of Homeland Security could shutter the program in the future if it could offer a compelling and logical reason for doing so.
In Texas, another federal judge is hearing arguments on whether the DACA program is constitutional or whether President Obama exceeded his authority when he announced the program. Seven states, including Texas, are asking the judge to issue a preliminary injunction forcing the government to reject any DACA renewals.
The judge, Andrew Hanen, is best known for blocking an attempt to expand DACA in 2015, called DAPA. The Obama Administration had attempted to offer deferred status to certain undocumented immigrants who had been in the United States for a number of years and had children who were citizens or legal permanent residents. Legal experts assume that Judge Hanen does not believe that DACA is legal and will, therefore, order the injunction to prevent the Trump Administration from issuing renewals. This would set up a direct conflict with the District Court ruling in the District of Columbia.
Those hoping to apply for a DACA renewal should understand that this issue will not be resolved by district court judges. Instead, the government has already sought permission to appeal the decision of Judge Bates to the intermediate appellate court, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Even the ruling from the judge in Texas might be appealed.
Once the Courts of Appeals rule, then the issue might end up in front of the Supreme Court—just as the Trump travel ban case did. How the Supreme Court will rule is anybody’s guess.
Unfortunately, there is no quick resolution to the DACA controversy, so those individuals who have received a deferment or are seeking deferment must live in a state of uncertainty. Fortunately, the attorneys at Kriezelman Burton & Associates are here to answer any questions that you have. We can guide you through the complicated immigration system and identify which path is best for you. To schedule a consultation with a Chicago DACA attorney, please call 312-332-2550 or send an online message.
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