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AMERICAN GATEWAYS: DACA REINSTATEMENT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

Austin-based American Gateways, which provides legal assistance to immigrants in more than 20 Central Texas counties applauds Judge Nicholas Garaufis’ ruling that states that DACA be fully restored and orders DHS to begin accepting initial DACA applications by Monday December 7, 2020.

Judge Garaufis’ decision represents the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between federal courts and the Trump administration over the future of the DACA program.  In June, the US Supreme Court struck down the Trump administration’s illegal attempt to end the DACA program and ordered that it be restored to its original state prior to the Trump administration’s 2017 Rescission. Following this ruling, DHS continued refusing to accept initial DACA applications. Instead, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo directing officials to reject all new and pending DACA applications and requests for advance parole. At the same time, it cut the duration of future DACA renewals from two years to only one. This memo was ruled invalid in November when Judge Garaufis found that Sec. Wolf was not legally serving as the Secretary of DHS when he issued it. On Friday December 4, 2020, Judge Garaufis further ordered that DHS comply with the Supreme Court decision and fully reinstate DACA and begin accepting initial applications within three calendar days of the order.

“While this is a clear victory for the nearly 700,000 DREAMers and their families in the US, it is also only a starting point” said Edna Yang, Co-Executive Director of American Gateways. “DACA has provided temporary protection for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families who have built their lives here. They are integral to our society and while DACA has given some protection to DREAMers, it is not long term.” Yang went on to add, “We need a permanent and sustainable solution for DREAMers, their families, and our community. Congressional action must be taken to secure DREAMers and their families a path to lawful permanent residency and citizenship in the US.”

Texas alone has over 109,000 DACA recipients, most of whom arrived in the US when they were under the age of 10. With the current COVID 19 pandemic, over 200,000 DACA recipients are on the front lines working to help protect the health and safety of Americans. They include medical and health care professionals, agricultural workers, and transportation workers, among others. They provide critical infrastructure on the frontlines, and without them our country would not be able to function.

While much uncertainty remains about the future of the DACA program, American Gateways urges anyone who believes that they might benefit from the program to consult with an attorney about their options as soon as possible.

MORE: Contact Edna Yang, American Gateways, 512-478-0546 ext. 202 or ednay@americangateways.org

American Gateways champions the rights of immigrants, refugees and survivors of persecution, torture, conflict and human trafficking through immigration legal services, at low or no cost, as well as education and advocacy.

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