New DACA applicants back in limbo
It was a brief breath of fresh air for many Dreamers. In January, the government started accepting new DACA applicants for the first time since early in the Trump era. These are all persons who arrived as children and have been in the U.S. since at least 2007. On July 16, a federal judge in Texas slammed the door shut again, ruling that DACA was illegal. An estimated 80,000 applications are now in limbo, and thousands more were in process of being filed. DACA by itself is not a generous program -- it gives no pathway to legalization -- but it at least allowed persons to get a Social Security card and work permits and ease the ever present fear of deportation. The judge's ruling is not an immediate threat to the 600,000-plus existing DACA holders. They will still be able to renew their status and work permits, but no new DACA applications will the approved or processed. The government will appeal the ruling. However, a majority of the Supreme Court last year clearly signaled that they thought the program was on shaky ground, even while sending the litigation back to lower courts for further consideration. Once again, the solution lies with Congress.