Federal Judge Strikes Down DACA: What You Need to Know
Nearly a decade after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to provide protections to undocumented immigrants brought here as children, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas struck down the program on July 16, ordering U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to stop issuing any new DACA benefits.
Although Judge Hanen did rule that DACA itself was illegal, in recognition of the impact of terminating DACA on the 616,000 people who currently benefit from the program, he did not require the agency to terminate any DACA protections or stop renewals while his decision goes through the appeals process. People who only recently submitted initial applications will not receive approvals from USCIS.
DACA recipients vary in age and come from countries all around the world, but the typical DACA recipient is a 27-year-old woman from Mexico. And while nearly 42 percent of all DACA recipients are 25 or younger, the oldest DACA recipients will turn 40 next year. Given the progam’s requirements, all DACA recipients have been in the United States for at least 14 years. Many of them have been here for much longer.
The first major legal challenge to the DACA program came in 2014, two years after its creation, when Texas successfully sued to prevent the Obama administration from implementing Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals (DAPA) program, which would have expanded DACA-like protections to the parents of immigrant youth.