On Sept. 13, 2023, Judge Hanen in the Southern District of Texas ruled again that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful. In doing so, he determined that the DACA Final Rule issued by the Biden administration with the intent to “preserve and fortify DACA” suffers from the same legal defects that led him to previously find the DACA program unlawful. The existing injunction and vacatur order, which Hanen first issued in July 2021, have been supplemented to include the Final Rule.
This means that although DACA was found unlawful, the status quo remains the same. Current DACA recipients will not lose their DACA status. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to adjudicate and approve applications for DACA renewals, employment authorization, and advance parole.
The government is likely to challenge the decision by requesting an en banc hearing before the entire Fifth Circuit. Ultimately, the case is expected to go before the Supreme Court. In the end, this ruling should push Congress to finally pass lasting legislation to protect those with DACA.