TALLAHASSEE, FL – 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 Florida 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 Florida State Immigration Director Ted Hutchinson issued the following statement today, condemning the ruling and urging Congress to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship:
“The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has given 24,000 Florida immigrants the ability to legally live, work, and study in the U.S. for more than a decade. These protections — and the integral role they play in our communities and economy — are at risk unless Congress takes immediate action to provide Dreamers with an earned pathway to citizenship. Today’s 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision has made one thing abundantly clear: legislation is the only real solution.
“These are real people who have built real lives and families here who are in need of real action from Congress. This is no longer a warning call that DACA is in jeopardy — the policy is still in immediate danger of being permanently ended. The time for Congress to provide Dreamers with an earned pathway to citizenship is long past due and our lawmakers must act this year. Failure to act harms Dreamers in the Sunshine State and nationwide and all those that rely on them.”
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, 24,000 Florida DACA recipients have received protections under the policy, and the average age of Florida DACA recipients is 28. Florida DACA recipients have lived in the U.S. for 20 years, 75% are currently in the labor force, 89% have a high school diploma, 35% have some college education, 21% are married, and 26% have children. There are 27,000 U.S. citizens in Florida alone living with DACA recipients.