It’s been a year since the Trump Administration announced that they would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since then, Members of Congress have abandoned their promise to pass clean protections for Dreamers. They now have largely turned their focus toward the upcoming midterm elections.
That said, there are still important developments that you should be aware of, and there is always the chance that Republicans in Congress could make one last attempt at forcing through a bad DACA deal before the midterm elections. Here’s what you need to know:
So Many Court Cases, So Little Time
Since Trump’s announcement one year ago that he would end DACA, much of the action has played out in the courts, with district federal courts in D.C., California, and New York each ruling that the Trump administration unlawfully ended the DACA program. That being said, this is only the first step in a long process that could ultimately end at the Supreme Court, where there is currently a key vacancy and a fight over Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
So, What's Going On With DACA Applications?
Thanks to injunctions from the California and New York District Courts, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been required since January to accept DACA renewal applications and is currently doing so. However, while the D.C. judge went further and ruled that the government must accept new DACA applications, the same judge has stayed, or paused enforcement of, this part of the ruling. This means that for the time being, the status quo remains in effect: people with DACA can renew their status, and no new DACA applications will be accepted. We’ll keep you updated on everything happening. For more information on how to renew DACA applications, see here.
Republicans Latest Attack on DACA Just Hit a Setback
In addition to the three cases brought to protect DACA, officials from in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina West Virginia, Kansas, Mississippi, and Maine filed a lawsuit in a Texas federal district court against the federal government with the aim of ending the DACA program. The lawsuit aims to freeze the ongoing DACA renewal process, and ultimately end DACA altogether.
On August 31st, the judge in the district court, Judge Hanen — who is no friend to immigrants — ruled against the request to immediately freeze DACA renewals. In his opinion, Judge Hanen found that while he believed that Texas would successfully prove that DACA was created unlawfully, Texas had waited too long to argue that they needed an immediate stop to renewals and halting DACA renewals immediately would cause harm to millions of Dreamers. He therefore would not freeze the ongoing renewals before the case was over.
This isn’t quite over. Texas and the other nine states can still appeal Judge Hanen’s decision, and the Supreme Court could ultimately decide if the DACA program gets to continue, just like it could with the three cases we mentioned above. That said, this is an important setback for Republicans in their attempts to hurt Dreamers and end DACA. For the time being, nothing has changed for Dreamers’ ability to renew their DACA status
For more information on this latest development and what it means for Dreamers, check out the National Immigration Law Center’s explainer on the Texas ruling.
At the end of the day, we can’t control how these court cases will play out. That said, the Supreme Court may ultimately have to decide what happens to DACA, and Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Court could have major implications for the future of DACA. To learn more about why we can’t allow Kavanaugh to be confirmed and how to stop his confirmation, see here.
...But What About Congress?
While this Congress likely will not pass a clean Dream Act, there are still ways that Congress is acting to support Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. Right now, Congress is in the midst of passing appropriations bills to fund the government, including funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While the House and Senate have passed different versions of these funding bills, they both result in the same thing: more ICE and CBP agents to terrorize immigrant communities (including Dreamers), more immigration detention, and more money for Trump’s wall. It’s on MoCs to show their support for immigrant communities by voting down any increase in funding for Trump’s deportation machine.
Any permanent solution for Dreamers that doesn’t come with strings attached will only happen if we take back Congress. Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell have shown that they are more willing to deport Dreamers and attack immigrants than protect them. Come November, we need to oust Republicans who have enabled Trump’s white supremacist agenda and elect progressives who will stand with Dreamers.
In the meantime, however, we can also ensure that our MoCs do not endanger Dreamers by urging them to vote against any bill that increases funding for ICE and CBP.