ATLANTA, GA – Today’s devastating 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 Georgia 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 Georgia State Immigration Director Jaime Rangel issued the following statement today, condemning the ruling and urging Congress to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship:
“Today’s ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals brings immeasurable devastation to a community of people who were raised here in the U.S. and have worked hard to achieve the American Dream while contributing to our state’s success. While the temporary nature of DACA has created a challenging journey for most, it has provided a glimmer of hope for talented and eager immigrants, including 20,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients here in Georgia. I came to the U.S. with my family when I was six months old and since then, I’ve been able to build a career and start a family. I’m beyond thankful for DACA, which enabled me to follow my passion and work diligently with statewide lawmakers and representatives in Congress to enact real change to our immigration system in a way that sets all Georgians up for success.
“For years, as ongoing litigation threatened the future for hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients in the U.S., Congress has kicked the can down the road and failed to establish a pathway to citizenship. I am beyond disappointed in our leaders who have spoken out in support of DACA but failed to codify the program into law, allowing it to reach this point where our friends, neighbors, and coworkers have to sit in a world of uncertainty while the courts decide if they will be ripped apart from our lives and our loved ones. I know there is a viable bipartisan solution in Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, and all Dreamers, but time is running out. Congress must act this year.”
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, 20,000 Georgia DACA recipients have received protections under the policy, and the average age of Georgia DACA recipients is 28. Georgia DACA recipients have lived in the U.S. for 22 years, 77% are currently in the labor force, 90% have a high school diploma, 31% have some college education, 34% are married, and 34% have children. There are 37,000 U.S. citizens in Georgia alone living with DACA recipients.