5th Circuit Ruling Keeps DACA for Now; Fight Continues for Citizenship

This statement can be attributed to Wendy Cervantes, director of immigration and immigrant families at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

October 6, 2022, Washington, D.C.—Last night, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas v. United States ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful and remanded the case back to the U.S. Federal District Court in Texas to decide on the legality of the Biden Administration’s new DACA rule. This means the DACA program can continue until Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issues a new decision, a development providing temporary relief for current DACA recipients across the country—young people who entered the United States as children and were granted temporary legal status by the program. While DACA renewals are allowed under this ruling, first-time applicants are still prohibited. The Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling in the case filed by Texas and eight other states threatens the health, livelihoods, and futures of children and families.

DACA recipients have grown up, built careers, and raised families in this country. In addition to the more than 600,000 Dreamers enrolled in DACA whose futures remain in limbo, DACA recipients are also parents to 300,000+ U.S. citizen children whose lives would be upended by their parents losing DACA status. Research demonstrates that family stability is key to healthy child development, and the risk of losing a parent or family member to deportation creates anxiety within the entire family. Loss of their status would also undermine the ability of DACA parents and other recipients to support their families or fund their own education. That’s because DACA provides access to work authorization and other critical supports, such as in-state tuition and driver’s licenses. The loss of DACA would also hurt communities at large, given the significant contributions DACA recipients have made as teachers, business owners, medical professionals, and more.

It has never been more clear that DACA isn’t enough. DACA recipients have had their livelihoods on the line for too long, and thousands of young Dreamers remain ineligible for any form of relief. This year, we need Congress to codify a path to citizenship—which has historically had bipartisan support—for DACA recipients and other Dreamers. Our untenable status quo, made less fair by this decision, is long overdue for a permanent legislative solution. We are committed to standing with DACA recipients, their families, and all Dreamers to ensure they are finally able to secure the permanent status they deserve to remain safely here in the country they call home.