CRLA Foundation’s Response to July 16, 2021 Adverse DACA Decision in Texas v. United States
All young immigrants and their families deserve a chance to realize their dreams!
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation has helped thousands of young people apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) since the program was first established in 2012. DACA has provided security and stability to more than 825,000 individuals, more than a quarter of whom are residents of California and more than 200,000 of whom have served this country as essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the years, DACA recipients and their families have been forced to navigate significant uncertainty in their lives as a result of politically-motivated legal and policy challenges to the program.
Both prospective and current DACA recipients were once more involuntarily thrust to the center of the country’s immigration debate on July 16, 2021, when a Federal District Court in Texas issued a decision limiting the DACA program, and ruling it unlawful. The court ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediately cease approving first-time DACA applications. This decision affects the lives of an estimated 1,729,000 individuals, who are now unable to apply for DACA.
CRLA Foundation is deeply disappointed in this decision and will continue advocating for young immigrants and their families, who all deserve an opportunity to realize their educational and career goals, stop living in fear of being separated from their loved ones, and have a pathway to citizenship. We stand alongside DACA recipients, their families, and all those who had hoped to apply for this critical program. We are encouraged by the Biden administration's plan to appeal this decision, and urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation for the millions of immigrants who strengthen our country. ¡La lucha sigue! (The fight continues!)
It should be emphasized that the recent federal court decision does not impact current DACA recipients, who retain their DACA status and work authorization, despite this decision and remain eligible to continue renewing their DACA status. Additionally:
● First-time DACA applicants who had their applications approved prior to July 16, 2021 are not affected by this decision, their DACA status remains valid.
● USCIS will continue to accept and process DACA renewal applications, which are unaffected by the court’s July 16, 2021 decision.
● The decision should not impact DACA-related benefits for existing DACA recipients, including work authorization, a Social Security Number, advance parole (requesting permission for international travel), and other state-specific benefits for DACA recipients.
● First-time DACA applications that were received by USCIS prior to July 16, 2021, and not yet approved are now on hold. USCIS will release further information on its plans for these applications.
Prospective and current DACA recipients should be on the lookout for future announcements and guidance from USCIS and immigrants’ rights advocacy organizations. If you have questions or concerns, please consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative (not an unlicensed or unaccredited immigration consultant). You can make an appointment for a free and confidential immigration consultation with a CRLA Foundation advocate by calling (916) 446-7901. You can also find other immigration legal services nonprofits near you at the National Immigration Legal Services Directory or on the CA Department of Social Services DACA referral website.
Resources for families:
● Immigrant Legal Resources Center, Community Alert: DACA Update (July 16, 2021)
● United We Dream, Top 5 things you need to know about the Texas case on DACA (July 16, 2021)
● DACA: ¿Que Significa la Decisión de la Corte Federal de Texas?, Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC) (July 19, 2021)
● Statement by President Joe Biden on DACA and Legislation for Dreamers (July 17, 2021)