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DACA Ruled Unlawful Again by Texas Judge

A federal district court judge in Texas has ruled the Biden Administration's DACA rule unlawful.


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival or DACA was created by the Obama Administration as a policy to prevent the deportation of hundreds of thousands of "Dreamers" - individuals without lawful immigration status in the United States who were brought here as children. This policy was previously struck down by the same judge before. The Biden Administration attempted to codify DACA into a federal regulation by publishing a rule in Federal Register. However, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ruled on September 13, 2023 that the new DACA rule is also unlawful.


The judge issued an injunction barring USCIS from continuing with the DACA program. However, the injunction was paused with respect to individuals who already had DACA benefits prior to July 16, 2021, pending further litigation and appeals to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and potentially to the U.S. Supreme Court.


The new ruling means that the status of DACA remains unchanged from 2021, at least for now. Dreamers who already have DACA will continue to be eligible for renewal of their protections and work permits (EAD cards). But, for thousands of individuals whose applications were pending on July 16, 2021, will remain pending because USCIS cannot approve them. USCIS has also not accepted any new applications, even though the court order permits USCIS to do so.


Additionally, DACA recipients can continue to apply for advance parole document to allow them to briefly travel outside the US for humanitarian reasons, to pursue education or in furtherance of their business or employment.

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