The October 5, decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in State of Texas v. United States of America deemed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy illegal — impacting the lives of millions of people across the country and harming communities and the economy. The appeals court, however, maintained the partial stay of the lower court ruling and sent the case back to Judge Hanen for further consideration in light of the DACA rule set to go into effect on October 31. Existing DACA recipients remained protected and their work authorizations remain valid.
Last week’s news was a terrible and deeply disappointing decision that makes even more clear the fate of DACA in the courts–and that without legislation protecting DACA recipients passing in 2022, we will almost certainly see nearly 700,000 DACA recipients lose work authorization, lose protection from deportation and have their lives thrown into chaos in the very near future. This ruling makes it absolutely clear that the courts will continue down the same path that ends in terminating the DACA program, with a final blow to come in the week and months ahead.
We know legislation is the only solution that will protect Dreamers. We urge Members of Congress in the strongest possible terms to act now to prevent Dreamers from being deported on their watch, and we will keep fighting to encourage everyone to join the growing, bipartisan, collective voice calling for the security and dignity all people contributing to our country, including Dreamers, deserve.
We know legislation is the only solution that will protect Dreamers.
No one should be fooled by the Oct. 5th ruling – while we do not know the exact timing of further court action, we do know that the chances of DACA surviving for much longer are significantly worse than they were just a few hours ago. The urgency for Congress to act now, in 2022, is higher than it has ever been. It is good news for existing DACA recipients that they have some more time to continue to renew, but to see this as anything but a clear indication of how the courts plan to terminate DACA is a mistake.
The bottom line is that Congress absolutely must act right now or else the consequences will be a disaster and they will be responsible for the harm that results.
Dreamers are parents of U.S. citizen children, valued employees in essential industries, and community leaders in every state, yet they are now at risk of being ripped from their families, losing their ability to work, and being forced to leave the only country they know as home. The immediate impact this decision will have on Dreamers and all those that rely on them is immense. If congressional inaction continues and the policy and renewals end, 22,000 DACA recipients will lose their jobs each month for the next two years, including critical healthcare, education, and personal care professionals. Further, 25,000 U.S. citizen children and 5,000 U.S. citizen spouses of DACA recipients will have a loved one or parent lose status each month over the next two years.
While the economic impact is demonstrably negative, the human impact of this decision on American families is impossible to quantify – and it can only be prevented by urgent action from Congress. Congress must immediately act to create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers; after years of allowing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people to hang in the balance, they absolutely must pass legislation as soon as possible.
Todd Schulte is President for FWD.us.
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