DACA loses in an appeals court, but the program is still in place for the time being.

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On Wednesday, October 5, 2022, a federal appeals court ordered a lower court to evaluate changes made by the Biden administration to DACA, a program that shields hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country as minors from deportation. The decision leaves the future of DACA uncertain for the time being. AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite hide caption

switch to caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

On Wednesday, October 5, 2022, a federal appeals court ordered a lower court to evaluate changes made by the Biden administration to DACA, a program that shields hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country as minors from deportation. The decision leaves the future of DACA uncertain for the time being.

Source: J. Scott Applewhite LATIN AMERICA A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered a lower court to investigate changes made by the Biden administration to a policy that shields hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country as children from deportation.

The program should be reviewed again by a federal district judge in Texas, according to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in light of the changes made in August. The decision leaves the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program uncertain for the time being.

According to Veronica Garcia, an attorney for the advocacy group Immigrant Legal Resource Center, “it seems that the status quo for DACA stays.”
The DACA program was implemented by the administration of the late President Barack Obama, and it has been difficult to navigate federal court challenges.

DACA was ruled unlawful last year by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas. He discovered that the federal Administrative Procedures Act’s mandated public notice and comment periods had not been followed for the program. But while the appeal was pending, he left the program in place for individuals who were already receiving benefits.

The 5th Circuit, which has its headquarters in New Orleans, decided on Wednesday, upholding the judge’s earlier conclusion. However, it returns the matter to him so that he can review a new version of the regulation that the Biden administration produced in late August. The new law is effective as of October 31.

5th Circuit Chief Judge Priscilla Richman’s ruling stated that a district court was in the best position to assess the administrative record in the rulemaking proceeding. Richman was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush. Judges Kurt Engelhardt and James Ho, both Trump appointees, made up the remaining members of the court.

Although the new rule’s 453 pages are mostly technical and barely alter the 2012 memo that established DACA, it was open to public comments as part of a formal rule-making process that was designed to increase the likelihood that it would pass legal test.

The U.S. Justice Department defended the program during arguments in July at the 5th Circuit, working in tandem with the state of New Jersey, immigrant advocacy groups, and a coalition of dozens of strong businesses, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. They maintained that DACA recipients had become into active members of the American economy who held and created jobs as well as spent money.

Together with eight other states leaning to the right, Texas argued that allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country costs them hundreds of millions of dollars in health care, education, and other expenses. Additionally, they said that by awarding immigration benefits that should have been left up to Congress, the White House had overstepped its bounds.

The Supreme Court will likely hear DACA for a third time, as is generally anticipated. In 2016, the Supreme Court couldn’t agree 4-4 on whether to expand DACA or create a separate program for DACA recipients’ parents, upholding a lower court ruling that the benefits should be denied. The DACA program was not lawfully terminated by the Trump administration in 2020, according to a 5–4 decision by the Supreme Court, which upheld the program’s continuation.

Despite being unable to vote, DACA participants have grown to be a significant political force, but their attempts to persuade Congress to create a path to citizenship have consistently failed. Any imminent risk of losing their right to work and being subject to deportation might put pressure on Congress to provide protection, even as a temporary fix.

Some DACA supporters were frustrated by the Biden administration’s conservative legal tactic of maintaining the current age eligibility. DACA recipients required to have been in the country in June 2007, which is a more and more difficult criterion. At the end of March, the average age of a DACA holder was 28.2 years old, up from 23.8 years old in September 2017.

At the end of March, there were 611,270 DACA recipients, with 494,350, or 81%, coming from Mexico and sizable populations from Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and South Korea.

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