DACA Updates

Relevant Resources:

DACA Frequently Asked Questions | Steps to Renew DACA | Beyond DACA: Immigration Options You Should Know

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(Last updated September 14, 2023) – On Wednesday, September 13, Judge Andrew Hanen, a federal judge in Texas, ruled against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In his forty page decision, he found that the new DACA regulation proposed under the Biden Administration last year did not significantly differ from the 2012 DACA program and therefore, in his opinion, is unlawful. This decision is expected to be appealed first to the Fifth Circuit and then will likely end up at the Supreme Court.

Some background

Back in 2021, the state of Texas sued the U.S. government arguing that DACA, as it was created in 2012 by the Obama Administration, was unlawful. In 2022, Judge Hanen released his initial ruling agreeing with this argument, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Hanen, saying he should consider whether a new rule issued by the Biden Administration impacts his findings. This week’s decision was Judge Hanen’s final ruling.

What does this mean?

While he ruled against the program, Judge Hanen also ruled that people who currently have DACA can continue to renew their DACA. However, the government will not process first-time applications. Applications for Advance Parole will also continue to be processed and people who have been approved to travel with Advance Parole can do so.

Our response

We stand in solidarity with United We Dream, Make the Road New York, NAKASEC, and UndocuBlack in condemning this decision. Sadly, our community has grown accustomed to political battles and policy decisions like this one that destabilize our lives and treat us like we don’t matter. But just because something has become familiar does NOT make it okay. We are all worthy of safety, stability, and the right to thrive—regardless of our status.

Photo of Iliana G. Perez, Ph.D.
“As a former DACA recipient, I’m deeply disappointed by Judge Hanen’s latest ruling against DACA. It’s disheartening to see this happen yet again. As DACA’s fate heads towards the Supreme Court, it emphasizes the urgent need for a bipartisan, long-term policy solution not just for DACA recipients but for all deserving undocumented immigrants in our country. We stand united with all undocumented individuals who bear witness to the shortcomings of our nation’s leaders and persistently dare to dream big. We will continue working to ensure that everyone, regardless of their status, has equal opportunities to thrive.” Iliana G. Perez, Executive Director

We also want to acknowledge that DACA was never a permanent solution, nor was it an option available to all members of our community. For those who were shut out of DACA from the beginning, the injustice of this week’s ruling is nothing new. Together we will keep fighting for permanent, comprehensive, and inclusive immigration reform.

There is a lot we can’t control, but we can assert agency over our lives and reclaim our power. We will not wait for the government to humanize us. We will not defer our dreams or our joy!

What can I do?

If you are undocumented:

If you’re an ally:

  • Donate! Your support can make it possible for us to keep providing our many programs and services to undocumented folks.
  • Speak up! Use your platforms to condemn this decision and demand a pathway to comprehensive immigration reform for ALL undocumented people.
  • Stay connected! We are not in this fight alone. Follow organizations like ILRC, Make the Road New York, NAKASEC, NILC, UndocuBlack, and United We Dream who are doing amazing work supporting undocumented people to thrive.