Legal pathways for citizenship have remained a topic of conversation since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) became law in June of 2012. A press conference by Democratic senators addressed a recent decision by U.S. Appeals Court for the Fifth Circuit has renewed discussion on the issue. The decision upheld a lower court ruling that ruled DACA unlawful. Without the ability to accept new applications, the prospects for change in immigration law and policy remain high.
Other legal options available under the decision
Under DACA, children brought into the country unlawfully receive temporary relief, including drivers licenses and work permits. Democratic senators pressed the significance of the program, which would provide a path to citizenship for more than 600,000 undocumented people. In addition, they pleaded for people to consider the issue in the upcoming midterm elections.
Under the Fifth Circuit’s decision, the law did not provide for public notice or comment, as required under the Administrative Procedure Act. The government, however, can maintain the program for present participants. The court will look at the new rule established by the Biden Administration that goes into effect on October 31st. As a temporary measure, one senator hoped the Biden Administration would recommend that undocumented people apply under Deferred Enforced Departure in order to obtain exemption from deportation.
Legal proceedings concerning deportation not only directly affect families and loved ones but also impact businesses and services provided by local governments. Uncertainty of one’s status in the legal system can only aggravate an already worrisome situation. Attorneys who understand immigration law and how it applies can offer guidance.