Earlier this year, a federal judge in California issued an injunction ordering the Department of Homeland Security to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, and resume renewal applications while a lawsuit challenging the termination of the program moves forward. The court stopped short of requiring Homeland Security to accept new DACA applications and does not compel the agency to issue advance parole for DACA beneficiaries. Earlier this month, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a similar injunction, and detailed the substantial harm its repeal would cause to young immigrants and the country as a whole.
These injunctions come at a time when the immigration debate continues to heat up in Congress. The legislature seeks a more permanent solution for DACA beneficiaries, while the President seeks funding for his wall. One bill, which ultimately did not make its way through Congress, but which had the support of the President, proposed a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, but also sought $25 billion in border security and wall funding, limits to family-based migration, and elimination of the diversity visa lottery. While Democratic leaders strongly opposed this bill, the administration has made it clear that it will veto any bill that does not meet these “four pillars” of immigration strategy. Congress is struggling to come up with a solution for DACA recipients before the program officially ends on March 5, and faces an uphill battle on reaching an agreement that both lawmakers and the President can agree upon.
While most of the country supports a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, the rest of a potential immigration package could have devastating effects on our immigrant communities and those individuals around the world seeking their own path to U.S. citizenship.