On July 16, the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, the court temporarily stayed the portion of the decision that would remove DACA protections and employment authorization for current DACA recipients, while the Biden administration engages in rulemaking to resolve the legal deficiencies cited by the court.
The court’s decision does not affect renewal applications for those already in the DACA program, and it does not rescind any benefits already issued to DACA recipients, including deferred action from deportation and employment authorization documents (EADs) already issued by USCIS. Existing DACA recipients are also permitted to continue submitting renewal applications.
However, the court’s decision does prevent USCIS from adjudicating first-time applications for DACA. USCIS can continue to accept these new applications, but cannot adjudicate them until the Biden administration issues new rules curing the legal deficiencies cited by the court.
President Biden issued a statement on July 17 expressing disappointment with the ruling and the Department of Justice’s intent to appeal the decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA. He also reaffirmed the administration’s intent to issue a new proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future.
For now, existing DACA recipients are unaffected by the ruling. Employers with DACA employees should continue to track the expiration dates of their EADs, and employees should consider filing DACA and EAD renewal applications as soon as they are eligible to do so.