On July 16, 2021, in the case Texas v. United States, challenging the legality of DACA, Texas federal court Judge Hanen decided that DACA was not a lawful policy. While individuals who are already DACA recipients are able to keep and renew DACA for now, his ruling prohibits U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from approving first-time DACA requests. Below is information on what you should know about Judge Hanen’s decision.
On July 16, 2021, in the case Texas v. United States, challenging the legality of DACA, Texas federal court Judge Hanen decided that DACA was not a lawful policy. While individuals who are already DACA recipients are able to keep and renew DACA for now, his ruling prohibits U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from approving first-time DACA requests.
DACA recipients are able to keep and renew DACA for now
DACA remains valid for current DACA recipients for now. Current DACA recipients are also able to renew DACA and use the related Social Security number and work permit. USCIS will continue to accept and process DACA renewal requests until there is a court order deciding otherwise.
First-time DACA requests will not be approved
USCIS may accept, but not approve first-time DACA request:
- For individuals who had not yet submitted a first-time DACA request, USCIS may continue to accept first-time DACA requests, but may not approve DACA for any new applicants until further litigation says otherwise.
- For individuals who had submitted a first-time DACA request that had not been decided by USCIS, USCIS may not approve the DACA request.
- According to some reports, USCIS has already begun cancelling biometrics appointments for individuals who had filed first-time DACA requests with USCIS. We await further guidance from USCIS on how they will process pending first-time DACA requests, including the filing fee associated with the DACA request.
USCIS will continue to process advance parole for current DACA recipients
Advance parole gives people in various statuses permission to temporarily travel abroad and return. DACA recipients are still eligible to request and receive advance parole. USCIS has stated they will continue to process advance parole requests for DACA recipients, but we await further specific guidance from USCIS on this topic as well. We will update this section as soon as USCIS provides further notice.
DACA recipients, for now, are not at risk of deportation
President Biden and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have made it clear that Dreamers are not a priority for deportation. In fact, since the decision, DHS Secretary Mayorkas has stated: “DHS remains focused on safeguarding DACA, and we will engage the public in a rulemaking process to preserve and fortify DACA.”
Even Judge Hanen directed in his order that his decision does not require “DHS or Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation, or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that either would not otherwise take.”
What happens next?
Any party can appeal Judge Hanen’s decision, and any appeal would have to go first to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Any appeal after that would go before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Biden administration has announced they intend to appeal Judge Hanen’s decision.
Any appeal or other litigation may affect the decision to end DACA for first-time applicants and how long current DACA recipients are able to keep and renew DACA.
Seek legal advice from a reputable legal service provider
It is important for DACA recipients, former DACA recipients, or individuals who were going to apply for DACA, who have questions about how Judge Hanen’s decision impacts them, to seek legal advice. Beware of “notarios” or scammers. Find a reputable legal service provider near you here.
What you can do now
Take action. This decision underscores the need for Congress to act and pass legislation that provides permanent solutions for DACA recipients, TPS holders, farm workers, essential workers, and their family members. Call Congress and urge them to act quickly to provide a path to citizenship for TPS holders, Dreamers, essential workers, and the 11 million undocumented: 1-888-204-8353
Stay tuned for updates on how developments in this case and litigation through the courts may impact Judge Hanen’s decision.
Here are a few simple things you can do to help:
- Call your senators and urge them to include a path to citizenship in the reconciliation package: 1-888-204-8353
- Support Dreamers. Many Dreamers cannot afford to pay $495 to renew their work permits and protection from deportation. Help them pay for their DACA renewal fee by visiting DACArenewalfund.com.
United We Dream explains how to easily renew DACA in 2022. Check it out!
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