There’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children from deportation.
On August 8, a federal judge in Texas heard arguments in a lawsuit to stop the program. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a coalition of ten states in that legal action. They argue that DACA is unconstitutional and drains state resources.
During his announcement of the lawsuit in May, Paxton said, “left intact, DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by congress and change our nation’s immigration laws to suit a president’s own preferences.”
Attorneys from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund represented 22 DACA recipients in this lawsuit.
While the court battles play out, DACA is still in place so a local non-profit agency is encouraging recipients to take action now. RAICES, which specializes in immigration legal services, says people protected under the program can help themselves by trying to secure their benefits — two years of work authorization and protection from deportation.
“I see people coming in, you know, that are doing great economically. They’re buying cars. They’re buying houses. They’re paying taxes. They’re working. So we see a lot of hard working people, students,” says Jean Andre Rivera McCoy, staff attorney for RAICES.
He adds, “We’ve seen even applications that are one hundred days before being expired be approved. So again, it’s never too soon to renew your DACA. Renewing right now will ensure that, during this period of uncertainty, you will have your DACA and you won’t have to worry about DACA until two years from now until it expires.”
RAICES offers free consultations, in addition to either free or low-cost legal services. The agency’s office is located at 403 Waco Street in Corpus Christi. You can call (361) 693-5838 for more information, or visit the group’s website.
Meantime, it’s unclear when U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen will issue a ruling on the lawsuit. He instructed attorneys on both sides to submit new filings on Monday, specifically including information on questions he asked during the August 8 hearing.