Future of new DACA applicants in jeopardy as judge rules against Obama-era program

Orlando attorney wants Congress to act

The future of thousands of so-called “dreamers” is once again in limbo after a federal judge in Texas ruled the program known as DACA is illegal.

“Now is not the time to lose hope. Maybe this is what Congress needs to act to show that there’s really no protection for this group of people that were brought into this country; no fault of their own,” immigration attorney for Capella Immigration Law Camila Pachón said.

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She is currently counseling clients who had applied at the beginning of this year for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was created under the Obama Administration in June 2012.

“It only applies to new DACA, initial DACA. So, the 1.5 million people who currently have DACA are able to continue renewing their work permit, their DACA applications,” Pachón said. “The ruling on Friday by this federal judge in Texas says that the government violated the APA, which is the Administrative Procedures Act, by creating the program.”

The Orlando-based attorney said now the Biden Administration has to look into the APA procedures to correct mistakes that were supposedly done when President Barack Obama created the program.

After the ruling by a Texas federal judge, the Department of Justice said it would appeal the decision. Pachón said the case would eventually go to the Supreme Court. But in her view, a better outcome would be a bipartisan solution.

“I think the best option would be for Congress to act and offer some type of reform for these kids. A lot of them are no longer kids but they were brought here as children and this is the only country that they know. This is the only country that they have contributed, that they have worked for; they’re business owners, they’re parents,” she said.

The new DACA applicants who are now waiting to see what will happen with the program currently have no work permits and are not able to apply for an ID or a driver’s license.

“Technically, they could be placed in deportation proceedings. However, based on the Biden Administration priorities, it’s very unlikely that they will be placed in deportation proceedings but they still have no legal status,” Pachón said. “The Biden administration is able to create a new DACA program and perhaps make it stronger and follow the proper procedures to make sure that another lawsuit is not gonna be an issue in the future.”

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.