Court ruling raises new questions about DACA program

Atlanta, GA – There was continuing news regarding potential legal issues related to DACA and how those who were already protected under the program will be treated in the future [1].

Judge finds DACA is illegal but questions remain

In a recent development, a federal judge in Texas reaffirmed his previous ruling that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is illegal. DACA, initiated in 2012 during the Obama administration, provides protection to approximately 600,000 young immigrants known as “Dreamers” who were brought to the United States as children without proper documentation.

Despite declaring DACA illegal once again, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen chose not to immediately eliminate protections for the existing DACA recipients. This decision maintains the status quo that DACA has been in for the past two years, where current beneficiaries can apply for renewal, but new applicants are unable to access the program.

This latest legal ruling marks a continuation of the ongoing legal and political battles surrounding DACA. Judge Hanen had previously deemed DACA unlawful in 2021, leading to a prolonged appeals process.

Judge Hanen’s recent decision includes a provision that allows the administration to keep administering DACA for those who initially received DACA status before July 16, 2021. This means that the program will continue to protect and provide work authorization to those individuals, and the government can process and grant DACA renewal applications for them.

While Judge Hanen’s ruling reaffirms the program’s legal vulnerability, it doesn’t dismantle the protections that have been in place for DACA recipients over the past 11 years. This decision offers some temporary relief to the “Dreamers” who rely on DACA to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation.

The DACA program has been a subject of constant political contention, with supporters advocating for its preservation and expansion, while opponents argue for its termination, asserting that it is an overreach of executive authority.

The ruling highlights the need for a long-term legislative solution for DACA recipients, as their legal status remains uncertain and subject to changes through court decisions. Policymakers face the challenge of finding a comprehensive solution that provides certainty and a path to citizenship for these young immigrants who have grown up in the United States and contributed to their communities. Until such a solution is reached, the fate of DACA recipients continues to hang in the balance, subject to the whims of the legal system and political battles.

What should DACA recipients do to remain in the United States legally?

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, often referred to as “Dreamers,” should take specific steps to maintain their legal status in the United States. DACA offers temporary protection from deportation and provides work authorization, but it does require recipients to meet certain criteria and regularly renew their status. Here’s what DACA recipients should do to stay in the U.S. legally:

  • Stay Informed: DACA recipients should stay informed about any changes or developments related to the program. This includes keeping track of court rulings, government policies, and any potential legislative changes that could affect their status.
  • Renew DACA Status: DACA status is not permanent; it needs to be renewed every two years. It is crucial for recipients to submit their renewal applications on time, typically within 120 to 150 days before their current DACA status expires. This ensures continuous protection from deportation and work authorization.
  • Maintain Eligibility: To qualify for DACA and its benefits, recipients must meet specific eligibility criteria. This includes having arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, continuously residing in the U.S., and being in school, having graduated, or being honorably discharged from the military. DACA recipients should continue to meet these criteria to remain eligible.
  • Follow U.S. Laws: DACA recipients must abide by U.S. laws and regulations. Any involvement in criminal activities can jeopardize their DACA status. It is essential to lead a law-abiding life to maintain legal standing in the country.
  • Pursue Education and Employment: DACA recipients should take advantage of the work authorization provided by the program to pursue education and employment opportunities. Many states also offer in-state tuition rates to DACA recipients, making higher education more accessible.
  • Seek Legal Counsel: It’s advisable for DACA recipients to consult with immigration attorneys or organizations specializing in immigration law. Legal experts can provide guidance on DACA-related matters, including renewals, potential avenues to adjust their immigration status, and protection against immigration enforcement actions.
  • Advocate for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: While individual actions are crucial, DACA recipients should also advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. This includes supporting legislative efforts that could provide them with a path to permanent legal status or citizenship. Engaging in advocacy and participating in community organizations can help raise awareness about their situation and garner support.
  • Be Prepared for Change: DACA’s legal status has been subject to fluctuations, with various court rulings and policy changes. DACA recipients should be prepared for potential changes in the program’s status and stay adaptable. This may involve exploring alternative legal pathways to remain in the U.S., such as family-sponsored visas or asylum.

In summary, DACA recipients must stay informed, fulfill eligibility requirements, renew their status on time, lead law-abiding lives, and seek legal counsel to navigate the complex immigration landscape. Additionally, active participation in advocacy efforts for comprehensive immigration reform can contribute to a more secure and stable future in the United States. DACA is a temporary solution, and recipients should explore long-term options to secure their legal immigration status in the country.

Immigration advice is available

Kuck Baxter Immigration is an Atlanta based firm that helps people with various immigration issues.

USAttorneys.com is a referral service that connects people with lawyers. They can be reached at 800-672-3103

Firm contact info:

Kuck Baxter Immigration 

365 Northridge Road, Suite 300

Atlanta, GA 30350





  1. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/judge-finds-daca-illegal-strike-existing-protections-young/story?id=99708172
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