3 Important Points to Know about Texas’s DACA Lawsuit
THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Ignacia Rodriguez, NILC immigration policy advocate
MAY 4, 2018
On May 1, 2018, Texas and six other states filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. They filed the case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where it ended up being assigned to Judge Andrew Hanen. He’s the same judge who in 2014 issued an injunction that blocked the Obama administration’s expansion of the DACA program and the related Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, program.
Naturally, Texas’s latest lawsuit has created confusion and concerns about what it means for immigrant youth and the fight to protect immigrant families across the country.
Here are three important points to know about the Texas lawsuit:
1. Judge Hanen in Texas cannot undo the California and New York injunctions (currently in place) that protect DACA recipients from President Trump’s unlawful actions. Both court orders require U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to accept DACA renewal applications. Only the circuit courts of appeal corresponding to those states and the U.S. Supreme Court have the authority to undo either injunction. No case related to DACA is expected to go before the Supreme Court until after this summer. The Texas lawsuit does not change that situation.
2. USCIS is still accepting DACA renewal applications. If you are eligible to renew your DACA, we recommend that you apply to do so at this time. Here’s the reality: We don’t know what will happen next, so having DACA for an additional two years may provide some peace of mind for you and your family as all these DACA-related court cases make their ways through the courts.
3. Your voice and efforts are making a real difference. The states that filed the latest lawsuit in Texas are among the same states that sued to block the Obama administration’s expansion of DACA to protect additional immigrant youth as well as its creation of DAPA. DAPA would have allowed certain parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for and receive temporary protection from deportation as well as work permits. That first lawsuit, which was filed in the same federal court district as the present one, became known as U.S. v. Texas after the Obama administration appealed Judge Hanen’s nationwide injunction blocking DAPA and expanded DACA.
The U.S. v Texas lawsuit against DAPA and DACA+ included 26 plaintiff states. The letter from some of these states threatening to sue the federal government if DACA were not terminated bore the signatures of state officials from only 9 states. The latest lawsuit was filed by only 7 of the 26 states that sued in U.S. v. Texas.
The progress we’ve made is clear. As support for protecting Dreamers and their families continues to grow, many states and localities are hearing our voices. In fact, state officials should keep in mind that the vast majority of Americans support DACA. This indisputable fact is a testament to the work of immigrant youth and their allies. Together we must continue highlighting the importance of the DACA program and pushing for congressional action to protect immigrant youth and their families. We need the Dream Act now!