What the Court Decision on DACA Means for DREAMers

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On July 16, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston ruled that the DACA program exceeded President Obama’s authority in creating the program in 2012. The DACA program allowed DREAMers to apply for relief from deportation and to receive a work authorization. The ruling prevents new DACA applicants from being granted DACA moving forward, but it does not terminate existing DACA grants. In other words, those already granted DACA are not having their work authorizations cancelled.

According to the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN-NY):

If you are a current DACA recipient: 

  • If you are a current DACA recipient, this ruling will not affect you. Your DACA status is still valid.
  • We do not yet know how this ruling will affect advanced parole applications for current DACA recipients.

If you have an initial DACA request that is still being processed:

  • If you have an initial DACA request pending with USCIS, then your filing will be frozen, meaning that it will not be processed until further notice.

If you have not yet applied for DACA but believe you are elegible: 

  • You are currently unable to apply for DACA.

Immigration law experts are urging those who currently have DACA to file for their renewals now if they have less than a year remaining on their work authorizations.

Judge Hanen has been the go-to judge for conservative attorneys general seeking to roll-back progressive immigration policies. President Biden reacted to the decision by calling for Congress to include immigration status for DREAMers in its Budget Reconciliation package.

The New York Immigration Coalition will hold a rally at noon on Friday, July 23rd demanding that Congress act immediately to protect DREAMers, those with TPS, and Essential Workers.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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