The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program had yet another day in court last week. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments from the U.S. Department of Justice and lawyers defending DACA about whether a judge in San Francisco was correct in ruling that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to end DACA was unlawful.
This is only one prong in what has become DACA’s long and complicated journey through the courts. While three federal district courts around the country have ruled that DACA was ended unlawfully, this was the first time one of these cases has been argued in an appeals court.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department attempted to appeal the San Francisco decision directly to the Supreme Court, but the justices told the Justice Department to follow standard procedure and first appeal to a circuit court, which is what’s happening now.
Complicating the picture, seven states filed a lawsuit in Texas earlier this month calling for an end to DACA, essentially taking the same position as the Department of Homeland Security. The judge who will hear the case in Texas is the same judge who blocked expansion of DACA and stopped Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) from ever being implemented back in 2015. DAPA would have provided over three million people with relief from deportation.
If the judge in the Texas court rules that the Department of Homeland Security must immediately stop processing DACA renewals, then the Department will face contradictory judicial orders. This conflict could lead to an expedited Supreme Court review. We don’t know when the judge in Texas will hear the case, let alone make a ruling, but that scenario is considered to be at least a few months away.
In the midst of this uncertainty, one thing is crystal clear: those who previously had DACA status, or whose DACA status is expiring soon, can renew their DACA status now. The tumultuous Congressional debate surrounding DACA has diminished trust and left many confused and unsure, leading to low DACA renewal rates. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The twists and turns DACA is taking through the courts actually creates a greater need to renew one’s DACA status, before a circuit court decision or a Supreme Court decision, eliminates the option. So now is the time to renew, without delay!
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Click here to renew your DACA.
Click here to check to see if financial assistance is available in your area. There are still funds available to help with the cost of the DACA application.