DACA recipients await crucial 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision

Atlanta, GA – There are more than 20,000 DACA recipients in Georgia and this week they’ll be holding their breath while the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston is set to consider Texas’ lawsuit challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. At stake is the fate of the Obama-era program allowing over 600.000 undocumented young immigrants, the so-called Dreamers, to stay in the United States.

One year ago, Judge Andrew Hanen, of the Southern District of Texas, ruled that DACA was unlawful as it violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which dictates what procedures agencies must go through to implement certain policies. 

Hanen blocked the government from approving new applications for the program and this came at the worst of times, with the USCIS having a huge backlog of cases. The agency is well-known for its bureaucracy and the Covid-19 restrictions only made matters worse.

DACA recipients must renew their status every two years and Hanen’s ruling allowed the program to continue for those already enrolled.

DACA recipients could lose work permits

This could change this week when the Biden administration’s appeal will be heard by the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston. The Court in Houston has a reputation for being extremely conservative, so the three judges on the panel may decide to uphold the lower court’s ruling.

The court could freeze renewals for current DACA recipients, leaving a whole generation of undocumented immigrants in legal limbo. Even worse, they could lose the right to work and maybe even study in the US. 

DACA recipients already face blatant discrimination in places like Georgia, where students seeking in-state tuition rates must verify “lawful presence”. Dreamers are banned from attending the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia College and State University. For the rest of the schools, DACA recipients must pay out-of-state tuition. Why?

Racism. There’s certainly no logical explanation for it. There’s certainly no monetary explanation for it,” says leading Atlanta immigration lawyer Charles Kuck, who specializes in DACA cases

Putting DACA on firm legal ground

Introduced by President Obama in 2012, DACA offers immigrants brought to the US as children protection against deportation and work authorizations. Judge Hanen’s ruling that the program was unlawful has already had a tremendous impact on the lives of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants. At issue is the fact that Obama created DACA through a secretarial memo as he couldn’t get Congress’ backing on legislation to shield Dreamers from removal. 

The current administration is planning to change that. 

The Biden-Harris Administration continues to take action to protect Dreamers and recognize their contributions to this country,” DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement last year announcing the revived initiative. “This notice of proposed rulemaking is an important step to achieve that goal. However, only Congress can provide permanent protection. I support the inclusion of immigration reform in the reconciliation bill and urge Congress to act swiftly to provide Dreamers the legal status they need and deserve.”

While the Texas court’s decision could bring very bad news for DACA recipients in Georgia and all over the United States, the battle for DACA doesn’t end there.

Legal experts predict that no matter the court’s decision, the losing side will appeal and the case will eventually go to the Supreme Court, probably next year.

If you’re a DACA recipient in need of legal advice or have any other visa problem schedule an appointment with a trustworthy immigration lawyer at Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC in Atlanta or their South Georgia office and get them the legal assistance they need. 

Contact info:

Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC

365 Northridge Road

Suite 300

Atlanta, GA 30350

Tel : (404) 816-8611

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