On-Again, Off-Again: Where Do Things Stand With DACA?

UPDATE: On August 31, a Texas district court judge refused to issue an injunction to stop the government from processing DACA renewals. Texas and six other states had requested the injunction. The result of the decision is that the status quo remains unchanged: The government is still processing DACA renewals but not initial DACA applications. (Although a district court in D.C. ordered the government to begin accepting new applications, the ruling was also stayed, or paused.) This state of affairs is likely to continue for several months until the Supreme Court weighs in on the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA. Stay tuned. 

It was nearly a year ago that President Trump announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program that gave some 800,000 young people who grew up in this country the opportunity to live and work here legally. Since then, there have been multiple lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s decision to shut down the program, but also one challenging the legality of continuing it.

With new developments every few weeks, it is easy to lose track of what’s been happening in the courts. Here’s what you need to know.

Challenging DACA's Rescission

In California, New York, and Washington, D.C., plaintiffs have challenged the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program as arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, a law that governs federal agencies. Courts in California and New York ordered the government to continue processing DACA renewals, but they did not order it to process new applications.

Per those orders, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency is still processing DACA renewal applications.

Last Friday, August 3, the district court judge in the Washington, D.C., case ordered the Trump administration to begin accepting new DACA applications — in addition to the renewal applications that it is already processing. But the court stayed its order for 20 days to allow the government to seek a stay and appeal on an emergency basis.

We do not yet know what the administration will do next in this case, but it has not sought a stay in either the New York or the California case. That means that the government’s next move in the D.C. case will not affect the court orders in New York and California requiring USCIS to continue granting DACA renewals.

All of that bodes well for current and potential DACA recipients.

Challenging DACA's Legality

But the program still very much hangs in the balance because Texas and six other states are challenging the legality of the DACA program itself. On Wednesday, August 8, the district court in Texas will hold a hearing in that lawsuit, and it’s possible that the judge could issue an order ending the program any time after that hearing.

To be clear, such an order would be wrong: Not only is the DACA program legal, but if the Texas court were to strike it down, its order would directly conflict with the orders issued by the California, New York, and Washington courts. If the government were subject to such conflicting orders, it would likely seek relief from the Supreme Court quickly, and no one knows for certain how the Supreme Court would rule.

Because of the possibility that the Texas court will issue an unfounded order that leads to faster Supreme Court review, we recommend that DACA recipients who are eligible for renewal submit their applications as soon as possible. If the DACA program is struck down, you could lose your application fee, but applying sooner increases the chance that you will be able to renew while the program is still available.

Now, as before, if the government has terminated your DACA unfairly, please send an email to DACARevoked@aclu.org. Our class action challenging unfair DACA terminations might be able to help you.

For more information on the pending litigation, please see this resource from the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/daca-litigation-timeline/.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

"When is the American government going to quit being an Indian giver?": Chief Crazy Horse circa 1876.


My grandparents had to jump through many roadblocks to come to America legally. It is unfair that the families of DACA will get away with sneaking into America.


The families are not getting away with anything genius. The parents, uncles, syblings, etc... are not benefactors of DACA. The only benefactors are the DACA recipients who had to meet a strict criteria, many of whom do not speak Spanish or have nothing to do with the country their parents came from and likely are more American than you are you cowardly fool.


The families are not getting away with anything genius. The parents, uncles, syblings, etc... are not benefactors of DACA. The only benefactors are the DACA recipients who had to meet a strict criteria, many of whom do not speak Spanish or have nothing to do with the country their parents came from and likely are more American than you are you cowardly fool.


That’s right! Legally!


oh, shut up


A measure of a people, maybe is the way they disallow themselves from being used as pawns in someone else's gambit. DACA were first brought though an illegal process into a life of separation by citizen status, no one wants to call them second-class, but they are often hired to do the most menial work, and sometimes at a 60% discount from the average cost of labor. This gives the owners/operators a premium in the product pricing, and in some respects has both the effect of increasing the GDP while decreasing payroll-tax contributions (increasing supply with reduced OH costs). So now DACA is considered for some reason the threat to the middle-class that it is (--it isn't), that these co-conspirators by association with their parents, got a free ride all their DACA lives. And now, no more cheating us out of house and home! You hear people stand on principle, no amnesty for any of them -- DACA are forever second-class citizens for the pawns they are meant to be.

These arguments are absurd. There should be a law preventing the politicizing of a class of people for the purpose creating pawns to be used for exercising trade-policies (NAFTA), and building an obstruction to wall off two sides from each other -- this as a physical wall, or litigation, and also demonizing the media. I just can't see how ANY agreement with Trump in this administration can be considered legitimate, it is proven repeatedly that he daily operates in bad faith. He is famous for saying during his 2016 campaign, they no one on his team is working in concert with Russians; and it's proved many in his campaign were. For a year he then said that they didn't talk with the Russians for political information from a foreign country; and it's now proved he lied about knowing it was all about Hillary. And now he says it was all fine for his campaign to be discussing Hillary with Russians, it's not a crime; and even if it were he can pardon his son, or himself. Trump is also on record lying to the Canadian PM about his lack of knowledge on the trade surplus between the two countries. Trump cannot agree to anything except in bad faith, which is makes it legally unbinding. He can only bully pawns to exert his influence while manipulating others in bad faith.


You're correct, we need to dump trump and his minions.


I'm trying to understand DACA. Does it have a built in expatriation?


I suppose that makes them like slaves, they cannot be citizens ever. Even the 14th Amendment doesn't provide relief. I guess that makes them a permanent underclass, since they merit less than anyone some kind of consideration.


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