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For Immediate Release

UWD Staff

Home Is Here Coalition Will Continue To Fight For Permanent Protections After Fifth Circuit DACA Decision

Today’s ruling means that the case will go back to the lower courts, while renewals stay open
Contact: press@unitedwedream.org

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals released a ruling on Texas v United States against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program and sent it back to Judge Hanen in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas to further decide on the fate of the program. This ruling maintains a stay that will allow for current DACA recipients to continue renewing their applications. 

The Home Is Here Coalition remains steadfast in our commitment to defend DACA and fight for citizenship and freedom for all immigrant families and communities. 

Greisa Martínez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, said: 

“It is time for the rubber to meet the road. Congress must finally come through on their promises and take the threat against immigrants seriously.  Today’s DACA decision—alongside the past decades of racist anti-immigrant attacks—is part of an agenda to put millions of people on a path to detention and deportation. While this ruling keeps protections in place for current DACA recipients for now, the case goes back to Judge Hanen who previously ruled against the program. 

Our peace of mind, careers, livelihood, families, safety—continue to be at stake and Congress must use the power they have to get this done.”

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

“A mixture of both faulty legal reasoning and proper respect for the reliance interests of current recipients, today’s Fifth Circuit panel decision defers to another day the final court determination on the legality of the DACA initiative.  By leaving in place the district court stay, the decision allows our nation to continue to benefit daily from the extraordinary contributions of DACA recipients to the protection of our society, the advancement of our economy, and the thriving of our nation.  At the same time, these contributions make ever more obvious the ongoing lost opportunity from the denial of similar protections to millions of other immigrants. While MALDEF will continue in court to defend DACA and its courageous recipients as this pernicious Texas-led litigation reaches its next phase, Congress must act now to protect permanently DACA recipients and others similarly situated; failure to act is a clear dereliction of legislative duty.”

Fran Eskin-Royer, Executive Director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, said: 

“We have always known that the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to America and now have lived here most of their lives hangs in the balance of Congress. Immigration reform and the final decision on DACA rest with our United States Senators and Representatives. It is past time that they sit down and do their jobs in bipartisan fashion which is the only way immigration reform will succeed. Members of Congress have been granted an honor through their elections to public office and they need to do the hard work. Lives are at risk; futures are at risk; America’s view of itself as a beacon of welcome, hope and success is at risk. The Fifth Circuit has made its decision. Congress now must make theirs.” 

Itzel Hernandez, Immigrant Rights Organizer with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), said: 

“Today’s 5th circuit court decision gives current DACA recipients a chance to breathe a brief sigh of relief. Yet, my heart aches for the 1.3 million DACA eligible folks throughout our country whose chance at protection from deportation continues to be delayed. After a decade of being protected by the DACA program, I am tired of the anxiety and uncertainty that every legal challenge presents for the program. I’m tired of feeling afraid to lose my work permit and the fear of deportation, but I also know that the people responsible for our situation are not the courts but Congress and their inaction. It is time for our representatives to put forth a pathway to citizenship not only for DACA recipients but for our loved ones, our friends, and community members, all 11 million.” 

Ju Hong, DACA recipient and NAKASEC board chair, said:  

The Fifth Circuit Court’s decision to send the case back to Judge Hanen is not ideal but I welcome the current preservation of the program. This case impacts hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients and their families nationwide. This decision and other attacks are also a stark reminder that DACA is a vulnerable, temporary program with limitations. There is a critical need for permanent protections for every immigrant – protections that recognize and uphold every person’s right to live safely, fully, and with their loved ones. The immigrant community is tired of empty promises and thwarted expectations. It’s time for Congress and the White House to pass a permanent pathway to citizenship for all 11 million.”

Eliana Fernandez, Immigration Director of Faith in Action’s LA RED, said: 

“I am angry and I am afraid of what is ahead for DACA recipients and for those who were hopeful to one day apply to the program. It has made a tremendous impact in my life and that of many. Today’s decision is disappointing, however, we do not see an end to our advocacy. We can no longer live in turmoil awaiting for the moment our livelihoods are swept from under us. My community deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This decision further supports what we have been advocating for. We need a permanent pathway to citizenship for all 11 million.” 

Angel Reyes Rivas, DACA recipient and organizer at Make the Road New York, said:

 “This decision is a reminder that we have been living with immense uncertainty and that we are unwilling pawns in a political game. We have survived relentless attacks on our communities and our fight does not end here. We will continue to vigorously demand a pathway to citizenship.

“For people like me and undocumented immigrants across the country to truly be protected, we need a permanent solution. We urge the Biden administration and Congress to take immediate bold legislative action to deliver a pathway to citizenship for our community.”

Neyda Perez, DACA recipient and member of Make the Road New Jersey, said: 

“This decision means that DACA recipients are still on edge waiting for a pathway to citizenship. While the program is still in effect for current DACA recipients this ruling leaves millions of people at risk, with the same fear that I have of being separated from my loved ones and it cuts opportunities to work and live without fear. Immigrant youth will continue organizing until we get permanent protections. Congress to take bold action and pass a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.”

Karen Tumlin, Founder and Director of Justice Action Center, said:

“This Fifth Circuit ruling on DACA is a shameful attempt to roll back the crucial protections won by undocumented youth. As we prepare for DACA’s likely fight at to the Supreme Court, we remain cognizant of the fact that DACA recipients have had to live in two-year increments between renewals, and from court battle to court battle, and that the program has been frozen to first-time applicants for over a year due to legal fights. It’s past time for Congress to act and offer real, permanent solutions for immigrant youth to benefit them, their communities, and the country.”

Rahna Epting, Executive Director of MoveOn, said:

“This ruling is wrong on the law and morally shameful. But this is just the beginning of this fight. We will not give up. The lives of hundreds of thousands of people are at stake. It is time for Congress to stop treating this issue like a political football and deliver permanent protections for millions of people, not just DACA recipients.”

Aimee Benitez, DACA recipient and member of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), said: 

“Living in limbo or at the mercy of the courts is a terrible way to live. The Fifth Circuit Court’s ruling today demonstrates that the fate of millions of families is in the hands of jurists who have clearly shown antagonism towards the immigrant community and will continue to exercise their power against us. This is an unsustainable and cruel way to address a solvable issue. Congress must offer permanent protections to DACA holders and their families, now.” 

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said:

“Today’s decision makes clear that the writing is on the legal wall, and we cannot sit by awaiting another adverse ruling by the lower court, the Fifth Circuit, or ultimately the Supreme Court. This underscores the urgency for Congress to deliver a permanent legislative solution for immigrant youth, who need the permanency and stability of a pathway to citizenship. This is a solution that is widely supported by the public, and Congress must follow through. We urge President Biden to wield his political and legislative prowess to achieve this much-needed legislative victory swiftly.”

Co-President of Community Change Action Lorella Praeli said the following: 

“Today’s decision is the outcome of a decade-long Republican effort to end the widely popular DACA program. DACA has provided protection from detention and deportation for more than 800,000 young people over the past 10 years. Those people built careers and communities, became parents and caregivers for their own parents, and rooted their lives in the United States thanks to doors of possibility that DACA opened for them. The Fifth Circuit decision jeopardizes it all – forcing hundreds of thousands of young people and their families to plan for an uncertain future, including possible deportation from the only country they call home. With the latest remand to the lower court, DACA recipients continue to live their lives from court decision to court decision, which is no way for anyone to thrive in this country. “We’ve always known that DACA isn’t enough. The Fifth Circuit’s decision is our latest confirmation and makes Congressional action as urgent as ever. It is long past time for the House and Senate to provide permanent relief by passing citizenship legislation for the 11 million. It’s the right thing to do and it’s supported by the majority of voters. We will never stop fighting for laws and policies to ensure the freedom and security of all our communities.” 

Executive Director of Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC) and Co-Chair of FIRM Action Andy Kang said:

“This decision is devastating as DACA recipients’ futures remain in limbo while this case continues to wind back and forth between the courts. The weaponizing of the courts against DACA has driven much of the uncertainty for DACA holders for nearly the last 5 years, on top of the racist and xenophobic injustices fueled by Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need for permanent protections and to keep families together. There is nothing more American than fighting for a dream–we will not stop until all who call the United States home experience safety and security.”

Executive Director of Arkansas United and Co-Chair of FIRM Action Mireya Reith said:

“Today’s decision is a disappointing setback for our communities. After more than a decade of immigrant youth organizing and fighting to win DACA, the promise of protection has allowed our community to have children, steady employment, educational advancements, homeownership, and more. These are real lives that are being impacted. While the stay will continue to protect current DACA recipients, no one should be living from court decision to court decision. Ending DACA would have a devastating impact on DACA holders and all of our families, employers, and communities. This fight is far from over. Our communities and our economy deserve permanent protections and an immigration system that values the safety, security, and potential of us all.” 

Leydy Rangel, DACA Recipient and Communications Director for UFW Foundation, said:

“Today’s ruling just kicks the can down the road. DACA recipients, like me and other DACA eligible folks need a permanent solution. Our message couldn’t be any louder: we need Congress to act and protect us permanently and immediately. I am deeply saddened for all of the DACA eligible persons who wish to apply to DACA for the first time, but can’t. Congress needs to act with urgency and they have the power to do it. No more stalling, no more half measures, no more holding our lives hostage.”

Patrice Lawrence, Executive Director of the UndocuBlack Network , said: 

“The Biden-Harris Administration has the trifecta. A Democrat led White House, House of Representatives and Senate. That remains true at least until January 2023. What also remains true is that since the beginning of  his presidency, the Biden Administration and  Congress have failed undocumented people of all ages. As the lives of DACA recipients once again hang in the balance, there is still time for Congress to act. Passage of legislation that would provide our people with green cards and a pathway to citizenship regardless of age, race or religion is still very possible. Black undocumented people have waited too long, organized too hard for our future to be decided by a single judge. Judge Hanen’s track record leads us to believe he will likely not rule favorably for DACA recipients. We continue to reiterate that DACA is not and was never enough. We need green cards now, and we need more robust action from this Administration and all lawmakers before the 118th Congress.”

Cindy Kolade, essential healthcare worker and CASA member in Baltimore, said: 

“It’s again a scary time to be a DACA holder – a time where there are attempts to push us back into the shadows, as we are trying to push forward in our careers! We are essential workers and have fought for this country during times of complete crisis because THIS IS OUR HOME! We will not stop fighting until we are given the dignity we deserve.”

Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, said: 

“Republicans are at a moment of truth – GOP legal challenges to DACA have undermined the program and compel a legislative solution, yet GOP obstruction in Congress has blocked a long overdue legislative solution time after time. For the members of the Republican Party who pledge to support Dreamers and the communities, classrooms, and workplaces who rely on their contributions, now is the time to deliver. Listen to the strong majority of Americans, including many Republican voters, and find a way to deliver for Dreamers and the nation before the year is out.”

Elsie Guerrero, Executive Director, Advancing Latinas into Leadership said: 

“The Fifth Circuit’s ruling is a disappointment to not only DACA recipients, but to all of America. As an organization that strives to support Latinas and help them prepare for adulthood, this ruling makes it challenging for our youth to go to college, get jobs, and do better in their futures. However, the fight is not over. This case is likely to be heard in the Supreme Court, and we call on the Biden Administration and Congress to secure permanent solutions for DACA recipients. Our government should not give up on our future generation of leaders. Many who have lived in the United States their entire life, for some the only place they know, should not be punished for wanting to succeed in the place we pride ourselves as the land of opportunity, the land of the free, and the American dream.”


United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation; made up of a multi-racial and multi-ethnic network of 1.2 million members, over 100 local groups, and a reach of over 5 million per month. UWD’s vision is to push for just policies that allow everyone to thrive regardless of immigration status. United We Dream is fighting for a multi-racial democracy that works for everyone by building a movement of young people who organize and advocate for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color. You can find more at www.unitedwedream.org.


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