The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy continues to be under attack. In Judge Andrew Hanen’s court in the Southern District of Texas, a coalition of Republican states filed a motion for summary judgment in a long-pending case alleging that the Biden Administration’s new DACA rule is no more valid than the original DACA policy.
The DACA policy was instituted in 2012 during the Obama Administration without going through the rulemaking process. It allows temporary protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States under the age of 16. The policy has been challenged for years through litigation at all levels of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite unfavorable rulings, the program continues, at least in part, based on litigation stays. Currently, “Dreamers” with DACA status may continue to renew their statuses and their employment authorization (EADs). New initial applications may be accepted by USCIS, but they cannot be adjudicated due to the current litigation. Even though the Biden Administration re-issued the new policy through a rulemaking process – DACA beneficiaries still remain in a kind of limbo today due to the litigation. The only permanent solution would be federal legislation, but that has yet to make its way through Congress.
The coalition of states led by Texas with their summary judgment motion is asking the court to invalidate the new Biden rule and provide a two-year “grace period” during which current DACA beneficiaries could continue to renew their DACA statuses and EADs while planning for their lives post-DACA.
DACA is not an immigration status nor is it pathway to a permanent residence, i.e., a green card. Most DACA recipients have limited options for relief. And those with options need to carefully examine their strategies and should consult with competent immigration counsels to avoid the risk of being barred from returning to the United States.
Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist those who are navigating these tricky waters by analyzing specific options and the risks involved.