FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A federal court is set to decide on the future of DACA in the coming days. More than 600,000 Dreamers could lose work permits and protection from deportation.
It’s not the first time the program has been in limbo, but this time, experts say this is the most severe threat DACA has faced.
“There is an appeal pending with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas and the court is highly likely to rule that the DACA program was unlawful when it was implemented,” said Fresno immigration attorney Jeremy Clason. “This ruling is supposed to be any day now.”
The program has shielded qualifying immigrants from deportation for the last decade, providing those who were brought to the U.S as children with a social security number and work permits.
The Biden administration is expected to challenge the court’s decision, which means the case would work its way back to the Supreme Court.
“Most experts believe that the U.S Supreme Court will also rule against the program,” said Clason.
In 2020, SCOTUS blocked President Trump’s attempt to phase out DACA, arguing he had not followed the rules to end the program. However, the court left the possibility for termination.
“Once they rule against it, the only way to save DACA will be by act of congress,” said Clason.
Congress has not passed a citizenship bill since 1986.
According to NBC News, the Biden administration is preparing to direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) not to prioritize the deportation of DACA recipients.
“Physical deportation of DACA recipients is in my opinion, extremely unlikely to happen,” Clason said.
Dreamers may not immediately lose benefits, either.
“My best guess is that renewals will continue,” said Clason.
The U.S government hasn’t been accepting new applications since last summer after a Texas judge ruled the Obama administration illegally implemented the program.
Immigration attorneys are recommending people check when their work permits expire.
“In the past, we would tell people to renew within 90 days of their current expiration. I would say renew earlier. Renew five or six months ahead of time. The renewal is valid for two years,” said Clason.