FWD.us Texas State Immigration Director Calls for Congress to Pass Legislation Immediately Following Devastating 5th Circuit Court Ruling on DACA

AUSTIN, TX – 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 Texas 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 Texas Immigration Director Zaira Garcia issued the following statement today, condemning the ruling and urging Congress to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship:

“As a child of immigrants and a Texan, I am heartbroken by today’s decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that is another step closer towards the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) policy. This leaves hundreds of thousands of immigrants, including 101,000 here in Texas, with prolonged uncertainty for what their future may hold, as the courts make it clear their intention to end a policy that has been so beneficial to their growth and that of our community. Not only is this deeply upsetting, but it is egregious that it even got to this point where Congress has failed to codify a pathway to citizenship into law for Dreamers.

“Today, Texas is home to the second largest population of DACA recipients and Dreamers in the U.S. who are key contributors to the Lone Star State, both socially and economically. Their unwavering dedication to our communities, especially throughout the coronavirus pandemic, proves just how vital they are to the ongoing success of our state. As the daughter of immigrant parents, I grew up watching my parents work hard to remain good stewards of the community while providing for our family. My parents inspired me to achieve greatness, no matter the roadblocks I faced. Now, I work each day to support all Texas immigrants, especially DACA recipients and Dreamers who have lived most of their lives in this state.

“Congress must right this wrong by establishing a pathway to citizenship before the courts bring an end of DACA fruition.”

Additional Background:

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, 101,000 Texas DACA recipients have received protections under the policy, and the average age of Texas DACA recipients is 28. Texas DACA recipients have lived in the U.S. for 21 years, 72% are currently in the labor force, 89% have a high school diploma, 44% have some college education, 30% are married, and 34% have children. There are 26,000 U.S. citizens in Texas alone living with DACA recipients.

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