~ by Carol Zimmerman, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholic immigration advocates are emphasizing that the October 5 ruling by a federal appeals court – finding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful – sends another signal that permanent legislation is needed to protect young immigrants from deportation and put them on a path to U.S. Citizenship.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed a lower court’s ruling last year that said the Obama administration did not have the legal authority in 2012 to create DACA in the first place.
This appeals court decision, similar to the ruling last summer from a federal judge in Texas, prevents the Biden administration from enrolling new participants in the program.
The new court decision continues to leave DACA in limbo. It did not say the program had to completely shut down or stop processing renewal applications, but it leaves in place last year’s order from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen that said DACA could continue only for current recipients with no new participants.
“DACA, like asylum, the border – immigration policy writ large – doesn’t belong in the courts,” Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of Hope Border Institute, tweeted after the ruling was announced. “Congress and the White House need to pass legislation that honors our values, the rights and dignity of those who migrate, and the contributions of those who make America home.”
Similarly, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., or CLINIC, tweeted that the court’s decision “only exacerbates the uncertainty felt by current and future #DACA recipients. We must enact permanent legislative solutions so #DACA recipients can live and work in the U.S. – free from fear or threat of deportation!”
Cabrini Immigrant Services of New York City, retweeted messages from a local immigration group urging current DACA recipients to renew their status as soon as possible and urging President Joe Biden and Congress to take action on this issue now.
DACA had enabled about 700,000 qualifying young people, described as Dreamers to work, go to college, get health insurance, a driver’s license and not face deportation. These young adults were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents without legal documentation.
In an October 6 statement, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville, Chairman of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “We implore Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to provide a permanent solution for all Dreamers out of respect for their God-given dignity.”
In response to this latest ruling, the Justice Department said it would “vigorously defend the lawfulness of DACA as this case proceeds,” and President Biden said in an October 5 statement that he was disappointed with it.
“The court’s stay provided a temporary reprieve for DACA recipients, but one thing remains clear: The lives of Dreamers remain in limbo, adding: “It is long past time for Congress to pass permanent protections for Dreamers, including a pathway to citizenship.”
His administration will likely file a formal appeal, which could bring DACA back to the Supreme Court for the third time. To read the entire account, please click here