HIAS Disappointed By DACA Ruling

SILVER SPRING, Md. — On July 16, a federal judge in Texas ruled against the Deferred Action to Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This disappointing decision means yet more uncertainty and fear for young people hoping to build stable lives in the country they already call home.

DACA, which was first implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, grants protection from deportation to "Dreamers," undocumented people brought to the United States at a young age by their parents. The program has allowed at least 600,000 such individuals to raise families, build careers, join the military, get a college education, and live without fear of deportation.

“DACA recipients are American in everything but paperwork," said Elizabeth Mandelman, HIAS' senior directory of policy and advocacy. "They are our neighbors, friends, and families; they are interwoven into the fabric of our communities; and they have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.”

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that former president Barack Obama overstepped his authority in creating the program via executive order. His decision means the government is temporarily barred from approving any new DACA applications. 

For the moment, the ruling has no effect on current DACA recipients. But Hanen's ruling shows the clear need for legislative action to protect Dreamers.

“For too long, thousands of DACA recipients have feared that the program would be ended. Judge Hanen’s decision underscores the urgent need for Congress to provide permanent solutions for the undocumented so they don’t live in constant fear of deportation," Mandelman said. "HIAS is calling on Congress to immediately pass legislation providing a path to citizenship for DACA-eligible people, as well as Temporary Protected Status holders, farmworkers, essential workers, and their families.” 

“We are heartened by the Biden administration’s vow to appeal this harmful ruling and issue new regulations on DACA. Ultimately Congress must act to fix our broken immigration system, and we will continue to keep pressure on Congress to do the right thing for immigrants and refugees.”


HIAS is an international Jewish humanitarian organization that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers in 16 countries. We advocate for the rights of refugees to rebuild their lives and seek to create a world in which they find safety, welcome, and opportunity. Learn more at hias.org.

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