The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was a measure enacted nine years ago to provide temporary deportation relief and work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to this county when they were children. These protections, however, have been under constant challenge. A Senate hearing was scheduled for late June on DACA while an ongoing federal court case in Texas may address the legality of this immigration measure.
The Senate hearing was scheduled on the ninth anniversary of the Presidential announcement of DACA. Former leaders of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and a DACA recipient who is now a medical resident were designated witnesses at the hearing.
Senators are considering legislation that would provide permanent protections for thousands of people, often referred to as Dreamers, and others who relied on temporary protections for many years. It is anticipated that many senators will not support a stand-alone measure addressing DACA but may insist on measures including measures to improve border security and address high immigration levels at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The House of Representative passed a bill in March with bipartisan support. It provided a way to citizenship to Dreamers and other individuals with temporary immigration protections.
A pro-immigration group expressed concern on whether there are 60 votes to override a Senate filibuster. The measure may have to undergo the 50-vote reconciliation process, according to that group.
Meanwhile, a federal district court judge in Texas is reviewing a request from a group of states to strike down the central legality of the DACA program. Several years ago, he ruled against the federal government’s efforts to expand DACA.
That judge indicated at a hearing in late March in this case that he would consider giving the Department of Homeland Security the opportunity to redo the program instead of terminating the program immediately if he ruled in favor of those states.
The U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled against another method to strike down DACA. But the case pending in Texas could pose another risk to that program.
The government is preparing a regulation to preserve and strengthen DACA. But regulations may also be at risk from court challenges. Court rulings against DACA, however, could compel Congress to act.
Seeking DACA protection can be complicated. Attorneys can help Dreamers and other eligible individuals undergo this process and pursue their rights.