DACA in Limbo as Appeal Court Hears Arguments to End Program

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is in jeopardy as Republican-led states push to have the program abolished. The program is awaiting a decision from a U.S. federal appeals court, a decision that could affect more than 600,000 people who could be subject to deportation if the program is struck down. If you are part of the DACA program, you need to know the current threats to the program and how this issue might affect you.

Arguments to End DACA

Texas, home to millions of immigrants, is leading the charge to end DACA. An attorney for the state of Texas is arguing that DACA recipients have cost Texas hundreds of millions of dollars in health care and other costs. He argues that by ending DACA, some of the recipients would voluntarily leave the country, which would save the state money.

Eight other GOP-leaning states have joined this effort to abolish the current DACA program. They argue that DACA was enacted without going through proper legal channels and not following administrative procedures, such as providing public notice and an opportunity to comment. The states also argue that they are harmed financially by allowing undocumented immigrants to live in their states.

Arguments to Continue DACA

The U.S. Justice Department, the state of New Jersey, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education fund, other advocacy organizations, and others have publicly shown their support for the continuation of the program. They argue that recipients of DACA are consumers, property owners, and productive members of society and that ending the program abruptly would have devastating consequences on their lives. The recipients of the program have generally only known the United States as their home.

Proponents for DACA also argue that program beneficiaries are parents of over 250,000 U.S. citizens and 70% of them have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen. They argue that these are not the type of people who should be targeted for removal and that the program falls within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to prioritize enforcement. DHS has limited resources and cannot possibly remove every person in the United States without legal status and must decide whom to target for removal, which is better achieved by targeting individuals who commit crimes on U.S. soil or pose a security risk to the nation than productive members of society.

Dozens of powerful corporations, including Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are also lending their support to DACA, arguing that they are employees, consumers, job creators, and productive drivers of the U.S. economy.

History of DACA Challenges

After attempts to overhaul the immigration system failed, President Barack Obama and his administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. The program recognized that people who had come into the country illegally as children had no choice in the matter and should not be penalized. The DACA program prevented the deportation of thousands of people who qualified under this program.

The program was created by executive order in 2012. Former President Donald Trump attempted to end the program during his reign, but a U.S. Supreme Court decision held that he had not gone through the proper channels to end the program. This allowed for new attempts to abolish the program with Texas’ lawsuit leading the charge.

In 2021, a Texas federal judge declared DACA illegal. The program remained intact despite the ruling, pending the result of the appeal.

The case was appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans by the Biden Administration. Proponents for DACA argued in court and in its appeal brief that Texas waited six years to challenge the program, which weakened its claims regarding the financial impact of the DACA program. They also argued that Texas intentionally ignored evidence that DACA can have a positive financial effect on the state because many of its program beneficiaries hold jobs in the United States, pay taxes into the system, own homes, and pay property taxes that support schools.

The case is currently awaiting decision by the appeals court, which is headed by Chief Judge Priscilla Richman, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, and two Trump appointees.

Contact an Experienced Immigration Lawyer for Help

As you can see, DACA is currently in jeopardy of ending. If you are currently part of the DACA program, an experienced immigration lawyer can analyze your situation and explain the options that are available to you. They can also help you complete necessary forms and argue for the status for which you are eligible. Contact us today for more information.