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DACA legality once again argued in federal court

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Immigration & Naturalization |

Earlier in June, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was once again considered by a federal court. The judge overseeing the case is the same judge who ruled two years ago DACA was illegal on the grounds that federal administrative rules were not appropriately followed when the program was created in 2012.

History of DACA

DACA was born out of an executive order issued by the Obama administration in 2012. DACA allows those who were 31 or younger as of 2012 and who were brought to the United States as undocumented children under age 16 to apply to go to secondary school and work in the U.S. for two years, with the possibility of renewal, without facing immediate deportation.

These young adults will not automatically become U.S. citizens, but they are granted the right to obtain a work permit, amongst other rights.

In 2022, a federal judge ruled that DACA, which had previously been ruled illegal, could continue temporarily, but no more immigrants could apply for the program. The current presidential administration then issued a rule converting DACA into a federal regulation.

The current DACA case

Now, nine states are challenging the legality of DACA, claiming not only that the original order creating DACA was unconstitutional, but the current actions by the executive branch constituted overreach, as the legality of DACA should be left for Congress to decide.

Attorneys for DACA in the current case claim the states lack standing to bring a legal claim.

Standing refers to the right of a party to bring a lawsuit in court. Generally, the plaintiff must have suffered an injury that can be addressed by the court with jurisdiction over the claim to have standing.

DACA attorneys claim the states cannot prove the DACA program has caused them to suffer any damages, thus, they do not meet that element of standing.

It remains to be seen how the federal judge will rule on this recent challenge to the legality of DACA. Over 580,000 DACA recipients in the United States could be affected by it. If the judge rules in favor of the states, it is possible the fate of DACA could be sent once again to the U.S. Supreme Court for a potential ruling.