What’s next for DACA: court battles and pressure on Congress



On a call to reporters after the ruling was released, lawyers from a group of DACA beneficiaries who joined the case to defend the program under the Trump administration expressed confidence that Hanen’s ruling would be vulnerable on appeal. Among other things, they said they did not believe the Texas-led coalition of states that filed the lawsuit had grounds to challenge the program, citing a recent Supreme Court ruling barring a group of states to challenge the Affordable Care Act.

With the strength of the Biden administration behind this appeal, the case could make it all the way to the Supreme Court.

The last time Hanen spoke out against the immigration program was in 2015, when he rejected the Obama administration’s attempt to expand DACA and protect the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens. In this case, the 5th Circuit upheld Hanen’s decision.

If the appeals court acts the same this time around, it could pave the way for the Supreme Court to take a fresh look at the program. While the High Court ruled last year that the Trump administration wrongly canceled the DACA program, judges have yet to weigh in on the basic legality of the immigration program.

Affected people

Even before the decision, the DACA program proved sluggish during the first months of the Biden presidency, with just 763 new nominations approved in the first quarter of 2021.


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