In 2012, then President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to protect individuals who were brought to the United States as children without having gone through the proper immigration channels. It was a move used to give law-abiding citizens who came to this country unwittingly the chance to live and work without fear of removal.
Last year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to withdraw the program calling it “unconstitutional,” but his move was quickly blocked by three different federal courts. Now, on the eve of a fourth federal judge’s decision in DACA, hundreds of thousands of immigrants across the country are concerned for their future in this country.
What is DACA?
In June of 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to this country and met specific guidelines were eligible to request consideration of deferred action for two years and permission to work. The deferred action protects a person from removal for a period of time but does not provide lawful status. Under DACA, candidates can apply for a renewal after the two-year period.
The Dispute Over DACA
Under the direction of the current administration, Sessions announced his intention to dismantle the DACA program by March 2018. Federal courts in California, the District of Columbia, and New York blocked this action. A fourth court in Texas has yet to weigh in on the issue. If the judge in Texas votes to rescind DACA, the status of thousands of people will be in question.
Two of the judges ruling against Sessions’ move required the government to continue processing renewals for men and women with existing DACA protections. In Washington D.C., U.S. District Judge John D. Bates went as far as to call the government’s move to end DACA “arbitrary and capricious” and possibly even “unlawful.” He gave the government 90 days to provide a better explanation for the ending of DACA and if they cannot provide it, he will not only revoke the government memo terminating the program, but also require Homeland Security to accept new applicants.
The attorney general of Texas and nine of his southern counterparts filed a lawsuit essentially calling DACA “unconstitutional” because it overrode congressional opposition to rewrite federal law. Citizenship lawyers and their clients are preparing for three possible scenarios: DACA can be shut down immediately, DACA will continue uninterrupted, or the program will remain in effect in some parts of the country but not in others.
Any of these outcomes may result in requests for emergency relief from the Supreme Court, leaving the status of DACA undecided for even longer, and the lives of thousands of foreign-born residents in limbo for years to come.
Philadelphia Citizenship Lawyers at Surin & Griffin P.C. Protect Clients Impacted by DACA
For individuals facing DACA and other immigration issues throughout the greater Philadelphia region, the best resource available is your Philadelphia immigration lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Our practice focuses exclusively on immigration law, and we are on top of ongoing legal changes that may impact those we serve.
To discuss your immigration concerns with a Philadelphia citizenship lawyer who treats you with respect and compassion, call 215-925-4435 to arrange a consultation, or complete our convenient web contact form to get started today. From our offices in Center City Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, including those in Bucks County, Berks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.