In a recent and significant legal move, attorneys general from 23 U.S. states, all under Democratic leadership, have joined forces in a coordinated effort to challenge a court ruling that endangers the existence of the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Since its inception in 2012, this program has been a cornerstone of U.S. immigration policy, offering protection from deportation and work permits to approximately 800,000 young people, known as “Dreamers,” who arrived in the country undocumented as children.
The ruling in question, issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, declared that the DACA program is not authorized by law. This decision prompted the attorneys general to request the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, to overturn the ruling, arguing the profound positive impact DACA beneficiaries have had on American society.
The attorneys general argue that the Dreamers have considered the United States their home for most of their lives, fully integrating into the social and economic fabric of the country. Through DACA, they have been able to study, work, and in many cases, serve in the U.S. armed forces. Furthermore, they highlighted the crucial role these young people played during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many served in essential roles, helping to keep critical sectors of society operational.
This coalition of Democratic attorneys general maintains that the ruling declaring DACA illegal not only threatens to displace hundreds of thousands of young people who have grown up in the United States but also undermines their ability to contribute to the economy and community at large. They emphasize that these young people have paid taxes, contributed to the economy, and served the country in various ways.
The DACA program currently protects about 600,000 beneficiaries, with another 86,000 waiting for their applications to be processed. The legal action undertaken by the attorneys general seeks to ensure that these young people can continue to live in the United States without the constant fear of deportation, maintaining their ability to actively contribute to society.
The final decision of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will be crucial for the future of DACA and its beneficiaries. The ongoing legal struggle underscores the importance of the program not only for the Dreamers and their families but also for the socio-economic fabric of the United States. The coalition of attorneys general, together with the support of organizations and communities across the country, hopes that their collective effort can reverse the decision and maintain the protections DACA offers to young immigrants.