ALBANY, NY – Yesterday’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 New York 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 Political Director, Immigration Campaigns, Eddie A. Taveras issued the following statement today, condemning the ruling and urging Congress to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship:
“Decades of abject failure by Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients – and all Dreamers – has culminated in the cataclysmic 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. It is absolutely repugnant that Congress has let this happen.
“There is no virtue that could be attributed to Congress other than shame. Now, will see a higher risk of deportation and family separation of DACA recipients, who, as Dreamers, have consistently excelled and given back to this nation in spite of the uncertainty and challenges they have faced. If DACA ends without a legislative solution in place, an estimated 1,000 DACA recipients could lose their deportation protection and work permit each business day for the next two years.
“The future for these individuals, who know no other home but this country, is in the hands of Congress. The clock has run out. It is time for lawmakers to do what’s right. We call on New York’s Congressional Representatives, Senator Gillibrand, and Senate Majority Leader Schumer to lead the way to a viable legislative action that permanently protects Dreamers.
“At a time where the country is beset by labor shortages, high food prices, and chronic inflation, failing to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers would be the highest form of political malpractice and abdication of our elected leaders’ responsibilities. DACA has transformed the lives of 25,000 Dreamers in New York, as well as those of their families, and it has invigorated our communities towards a better version of the American Dream.
“Dreamers want to build their futures here and to continue contributing to the economic and cultural health and diversity of their respective communities. It is time for our leaders in Congress to make that possible through bipartisan support for a pathway to citizenship – 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, 38,000 New York DACA recipients have received protections under the policy, and the average age of New York DACA recipients is 30. New York DACA recipients have lived in the U.S. for 21 years, 81% are currently in the labor force, 92% have a high school diploma, 51% have some college education, 20% are married, and 20% have children. There are 26,000 U.S. citizens in New York alone living with DACA recipients.