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News Update

DACA case likely to head to Supreme Court

A panel of federal judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments this week about whether the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is legal.

It’s the latest in a long series of back-and-forth hearings and court rulings on the program, which offers temporary protection from deportation and permission to work for about 650,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children.

The Obama administration began DACA in 2012 after Congress failed multiple times to pass more comprehensive immigration reform. The Trump administration ordered the program to stop. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that the Trump administration’s decision to stop the program was “arbitrary and capricious.” But the Supreme Court did not rule on whether the program was legal in the first place.

Texas and eight other states filed a lawsuit, arguing that DACA was unlawful, because former President Barack Obama did not have the authority to enact such a policy, and last year, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sided with them, and ordered the immigration agency to stop approving new applications.

The Biden administration appealed, and the case is now before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. According to Politico, the federal judges in New Orleans “appeared unconvinced by the Justice Department’s arguments” that DACA is legal.

After the court rules on the case in the coming months, it will almost certainly move on to the U.S. Supreme Court.