With the DACA program ruled unlawful, how can we protect U.S. undocumented immigrants?
Many immigrants experienced deep disappointment and fear when Judge Andrew Hanen halted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on July 16, 2021. Judge Hanen ruled the DACA program unlawful, creating an air of uncertainty for many dreamers applying for the program.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, explained that DACA recipients can maintain their status as well as renew it every two years. The Department of Homeland Security may accept applications but cannot approve them.
Thousands of applications are now pending since this recent court ruling. Those who have already received DACA can stay and work in the United States. However, those protections could disappear.
DACA was an Obama era program protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation. To qualify for DACA, applicants must have entered the United States before age 16, lived in the country continuously since June 2007, finished high school or enlisted in the military, and have no criminal record. DACA has enabled more than 800,000 immigrant’s temporary protection to work and remain in the country. Currently, 650,0000 immigrants are enrolled in the program.
For DACA recipients as well as DACA eligible people, this ruling is terrible news. The Department of Justice under President Biden intends to appeal this decision. In a statement issued on July 17, 2021, Biden explained his call to Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act. He emphasized that Congress needs to act now to provide a path to citizenship for all dreamers. Congress must step in with a legislative remedy, and the Supreme Court must determine its legality.
We must continue to fight for immigrants to receive a pathway to citizenship. Many DACA recipients live in a constant state of uncertainty and fear that another court ruling will heavily impact their future. Join us by taking a pledge to support a pathway to citizenship at FWD.US, a pro-immigration lobbying group that advocates on behalf of undocumented immigrants. By taking this pledge, you press Congress to pass permanent protections.