DENVER, CO – Today’s decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in State of Texas v. United States of America deemed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy illegal — impacting the lives of millions of people across the country, and harming Colorado communities and the economy. The appeals court, however, maintained the partial stay of the lower court ruling and sent the case back to Judge Andrew Hanen in the Southern District of Texas for further consideration in light of the DACA rule set to go into effect on October 31. Existing DACA recipients remain protected and their work authorizations remain valid.
In response, FWD.us Colorado State Immigration Director Marissa Molina issued the following statement today, condemning the ruling and urging Congress to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship:
“Today’s 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision is deeply disappointing for immigrants like me across the country and makes clear DACA’s fate in the courts if congressional inaction continues. This ruling against DACA keeps the 14,000 DACA recipients in our state who have lived in the U.S. for 22 years on average, the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers nationwide, and all those who rely on them living in fear and limbo.
“DACA allowed me to live freely and build a career, family, and life in Colorado — a state I’m proud to call home and work to give back to every day. The policy has been a lifeline for many others as well. Congress has dropped the ball on providing Dreamers with a permanent legislative solution for decades; there is no more space to rely on the existence of DACA as an excuse for inaction. Lawmakers must pass a pathway to citizenship to protect Dreamers this year or Colorado families, communities, and our economy will pay the price.”
The State of Texas, joined by other Republican state attorneys general, brought a case challenging DACA’s legality to the Southern District of Texas in 2017. That case was heard by District Judge Andrew Hanen, who ruled that DACA was illegal in July of 2021. The Department of Justice appealed the decision to the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, resulting in today’s decision. This case will be sent to Judge Hanen again, with a negative outcome likely. In the meantime, the current stay following the previous Hanen decision — which has enabled current DACA recipients to continue to renew their protections — will remain, but only on a temporary and limited basis. The only solution is for Congress to urgently act to provide Dreamers with an earned pathway to citizenship.
According to a recent FWD.us analysis, in the decade since the DACA policy was created, 14,000 Colorado DACA recipients have received protections under the policy, and the average age of Colorado DACA recipients is 28. Colorado DACA recipients have lived in the U.S. for 22 years, 61% are currently in the labor force, 92% have a high school diploma, 40% have some college education, 32% are married, and 26% have children. There are 20,000 U.S. citizens in Colorado alone living with DACA recipients.