Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama-era program that defers deportation for eligible young people who came to the United States as children and who have met certain other requirements. DACA registrants may also apply for a work permit. Over 600,000 DACA recipients – or “Dreamers” – have benefitted from the program since its 2012 launch. The program has been in limbo since 2017, when the Trump administration tried to end it; a move which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2000.
President Biden vowed to make DACA’s reinstatement a priority for his administration, promising on this first day in office, "to take all actions… consistent with applicable law, to preserve and fortify DACA." However, full reinstatement of DACA has been short-lived. On July 16, 2021, a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas issued an injunctive order barring new DACA registrants, ruling that the Obama administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act in promulgating DACA. Importantly, the injunction does not affect current DACA registrants.
Nevertheless, the injunction upsets the plans of the tens of thousands of young people living in the U.S. USCIS received more than 50,000 new-registrant DACA requests from January to March after announcing it would start accepting first-time applicants in December. Although the Biden administration is expected to appeal the decision, the livelihoods of prospective Dreamers across the U.S. are now in jeopardy indefinitely.