Congress Must Pass a Permanent Solution and Expand Protections for Dreamers as Ruling Attempts to End the DACA Program

September 14, 2023
Last modified: 
September 14, 2023

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2023Yesterday, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. This decision aims to terminate the DACA program and will leave thousands of undocumented youth in legal limbo without the ability to apply for work authorization, drivers licenses, and other protections that the DACA program offers 

First-time DACA applications were halted by an earlier court decision, and yesterday’s decision will permanently halt first-time applications, absent intervention from an appellate court. DACA renewals and advance parole applications, however, are allowed to continue. The U.S. government will likely appeal the decision to the court of appeals, and the case may end up at the Supreme Court. A potential case would likely not arrive to the Supreme Court until the 2024 term, placing a potential decision in May or June 2025.

The American Immigration Council strongly advocates for Congress to pass a permanent solution for undocumented youth across the United States, including those who participate in the DACA initiative. It has been more than 10 years since the creation of DACA, which offered an opportunity for undocumented youth who meet strict criteria to apply for temporary protection from deportation. 

The following statement is from Jorge Loweree, managing director of programs at the American Immigration Council: 

Yesterday’s decision was a major blow to thousands of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues that benefit from DACA’s protections, and the families and communities who rely on them. While the decision won’t have an immediate impact on people who currently rely on the program to live and work in the U.S. without the constant threat of deportation, it will continue to sow fear and distrust across the country. If Congress continues to sit on its hands, waiting to be forced into action, the Republican-led state effort to kill DACA by a thousand cuts will succeed. The time to act is now. 

DACA recipients across the nation work in our hospitals, teach our children, manage our businesses, and contribute to the fabric of our nation in countless ways. They have lived, grown, and put down roots under DACA’s protections for over a decade. If we fail them, we fail ourselves. It’s time for Congress to finally deliver. 

The American Immigration Council has a range of research and other resources on DACA, including policy experts available to speak on policies designed to protect Dreamers and what is at stake for over 650,000 DACA beneficiaries across the country. The Council also has data on demographic and economic contributions of DACA recipients in each U.S. state and nationwide.   


For more information, contact: Andrea Ramos at the American Immigration Council, [email protected] or 202-507-7508.

The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. Follow the latest Council news and information on and Twitter @immcouncil.  

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Elyssa Pachico
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