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For Immediate Release

Catherine Lee

HIH: Judge Hanen’s Ruling Highlights DACA Was Never Enough and We Need Permanent Protections Now

It is irresponsible and immoral for Congress and President Biden to sit idly by and watch immigrant youth be attacked
Contact: press@unitedwedream.org


Thursday, September 14, 2023

Media Contacts

Judge Hanen’s Ruling Highlights DACA Was Never Enough and We Need Permanent Protections Now

It is irresponsible and immoral for Congress and President Biden to sit idly by and watch immigrant youth be attacked

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday evening, Judge Hanen of the Southern District of Texas ruled against DACA in the Texas v.s. United States DACA case. Judge Hanen previously ruled against the program back in 2021, halting new first-time DACA applications from tens of thousands of DACA eligible youth. 

Hanen placed a stay in his decision which allows current DACA recipients to continue with their renewals and advance parole for now. It does not change or expand eligibility.

Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, Deputy Director of Federal Advocacy of United We Dream, said:

“For years now anti-immigrant politicians have challenged and actively tried to end DACA and sow chaos for millions of people and their families. But immigrants have always fought back, today is no different. Judge Hanen’s summary judgment is the latest move as part of the cruel and strategic attack on the freedom to work and be protected from deportation. 

The rollercoaster ride that DACA recipients endured over the years has caused distress and turmoil in the everyday lives of millions of people; DACA recipients, DACA eligible youth, and the people who care about them. DACA was never enough and the constant back and forth, particularly with Judge Hanen, has highlighted the program’s jarring gaps. Time and again, when we see DACA being chipped away at, we heed the call to finally pass citizenship. We need Congress and President Biden to turn those words into action. As cruel as the actions are of those who are fighting to end DACA, there is a similar cruelty in sitting idly by and not doing everything in your power to stop them. We need Congress and President Biden to put a stop to these attacks on our immigrant community and push forth solutions now!” 

Cristina Tzinztún Ramirez, President of NextGen America, said:

“Today’s decision is a devastating blow to DACA recipients – many of which have only ever known this country as their home. Judge Hanen is an anti-immigrant, Republican-appointed judge who does not represent the sentiments of young people in our country and the young immigrants most impacted by this ruling. 

“Immigrants deserve to be treated with dignity, and young people across the country are advocating for policies that welcome immigrants and respect their rights. It’s time to build a just immigration system and permanent pathway to citizenship that lives up to the values America aspires to achieve.

“Despite today’s ruling, our fight for immigrant protections continues. In particular, we’re urging Congress and President Biden to pass the American Dream and Promise Act and other legislation that protects DACA recipients and immigrant youth. NextGen will continue advocating and pushing for legislative action to protect immigrant youth, our families, and our communities.”

Kica Matos, President of the National Immigration Law Center, said:

“While expected, today’s court ruling is devastating. It impacts hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and their loved ones, who have already endured years of uncertainty stemming from politicized attacks on DACA. Congress has failed to pass a permanent legislative solution, and it is urgent that they act now. We cannot allow court rulings to continue to upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth whose home is here. We demand that Congress pass a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and immigrant youth.”

Zuleima Dominguez, DACA recipient and Lead Organizer at Make the Road New York, said,  

“I am devastated by this decision that once again triggers my fear of having my family torn apart. As a current DACA recipient with loved ones who have been waiting to apply for this program, I know that this ruling puts the livelihoods of hundreds of immigrant youth across the country under attack. We have lived with immense uncertainty and as pawns in political games for years. Once again, today, an extremist judge has done the bidding of extreme MAGA politicians to try to rob us of our future.

We have survived unrelenting attacks on our communities, and our fight does not end here. We will continue vigorously demanding our people’s need for a pathway to citizenship. We need a permanent solution for people like me and undocumented immigrants nationwide to be truly protected. We urge the Biden administration and Congress to take immediate bold legislative and executive actions and immediate relief for our community.”

Armando Jimenez, DACA recipient and Deputy Organizing Director of Make the Road New Pennsylvania, said: 

“Today’s ruling cannot change the fact that no human being is illegal, and every person deserves the opportunity to live, work, and build a good life. DACA allowed me to explore opportunities and take risks without having the threat of deportation and family separation looming over my head, something every family deserves.

Temporary programs like DACA and TPS have always been temporary and unstable, falling far short of the need. Our home is here. President Biden campaigned on establishing a pathway to citizenship. With extreme MAGA politicians attacking us again, it’s time for Biden and Congress to make good on that promise and permanently protect immigrant communities with citizenship for all eleven million undocumented Americans.”

Brenda Palo, DACA recipient and member of Make the Road Nevada, said:

“I am overwhelmed by a range of emotions, but most of all, I feel an intense disappointment. This is my home—I have lived here for over six years, studied, and worked here. I am one of many DACA recipients who have completed their education and have contributed to society. Having our presence and efforts invalidated overnight is a deep betrayal. DACA has been through enough ups and downs as Republicans continue to attack it. We urge Congress and President Biden to State to pass protections that will protect immigrant youth.”

Itzel Hernandez, DACA recipient and organizer for the American Friends Service Committee, said:

“Enough is enough. We deserve better, my family deserves better, and my community deserves better than to continue to be in limbo. The Biden administration and Congress need to act now. We are done waiting; the time has run out. We need a pathway to citizenship immediately. We cannot continue to live on borrowed time or gamble with our futures in the courts.”

Areli Hernandez, CHIRLA Executive Affairs Director and person with DACA , said:

“It’s upsetting to live life in this way, at the mercy of court decisions which are based on politics. My family is here, my heart is here, my home is here, and I am here to stay. ENOUGH of words without actions! Congress and the president MUST take action. We need a permanent solution that will recognize our humanity. It’s time to do what is just, and that justice is legalization with a pathway to citizenship, for that is the true protection DACA beneficiaries and their families will have, from this limbo.”

Veronica Garcia, Staff Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said:

“DACA recipients are urged to get a consultation about legal options they may have beyond DACA. It is important to note that this decision will likely be appealed and DACA will remain in effect throughout the appeals process, which could take a significant amount of time.  The ILRC strongly recommends those in this position to find trusted legal services that may help them identify other potential pathways to legal relief by visiting https://bit.ly/ianimmhelp. For continued updates on DACA, visit ilrc.org/daca”

Rebecca Shi, Executive Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition:

“We are talking about people who, in the decade since DACA began, have graduated from college here, joined the labor force and the military, started families, enriched their communities and contributed more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy. People should not have to live their lives and have their businesses held hostage to one court ruling after another. Once and for all, Congress needs to fix this mess so that Dreamers and their employers can finally exhale and commit long-term to aiding the American economy.”

Denia Pérez, DACA Recipient & Director of Legal Services at Immigrants Rising:

“Undocumented people — those with and without DACA — are worthy of dignity, respect, and stability. That DACA and other progressive immigration policies that would provide a pathway to citizenship continue to be attacked or failed to pass is a moral and political failure by this country’s leaders. We deserve better. I am outraged that eleven years later, we still don’t have a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients like me and for our undocumented families and elders. Judge Hanen’s decision only highlights what we already know: that Congress needs to act, not just to protect DREAMers, but all undocumented immigrants in this country. We will continue to fight and work for the world we deserve, but in the meantime, I also grieve for those who continue to be haunted by this decision and the instability that comes with waiting.” 

Lizeth Chacón, Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project:

“Lawmakers in our nation’s capital have once again failed immigrant and working Americans by refusing to pass federal protections for the 580,000 DACA recipients who work, go to school, contribute to the US economy and are upstanding members of their communities across the 50 states. This egregious, politically motivated, and immoral lack of judgment will upend the lives of these young immigrants and their families, many of whom have only ever known the US as their home. Here at Workers Defense, our members – the construction workers who tirelessly champion worker rights and protections in Texas and yet continue to suffer stolen wages and face losing life-saving water breaks – are drained from the continuous refusal of those in power to treat them with the humanity, dignity, and respect they deserve. They continue en la lucha determined to build better futures for tomorrow’s generations. Make no mistake that Workers Defense, along with allies like United We Dream, will never back down from pushing for common sense immigration reform and ensuring we sit on the right side of history in this new era of the Civil Rights movement.”

Claudia Tristán, Immigration Campaign Director at MomsRising/MamásConPoder:

“DACA recipients and their children have been forced to live in fear and limbo for much too long. More than 300,000 are at risk of losing their parents, and our communities are at risk of losing valued members,” said Claudia Tristán, Immigration Campaign Director of MomsRising. “Last night’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen makes it even more urgent that Congress provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers now. Ending DACA would create a humanitarian and economic catastrophe for our country. Congress must do what the majority of moms and voters want and pass permanent protections for Dreamers this year.”

Martin Kim, Director of Immigration Advocacy, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC said

“Advancing Justice – AAJC is disgusted by this latest court ruling, but we will not let that deter us from fighting for what is right. We have always known that DACA recipients and millions of undocumented immigrants, including 1.7 million undocumented Asian Americans, need a permanent solution to give them a pathway to citizenship. DACA has become a political football since its inception, and it is unconscionable to keep the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients, DACA eligible youth, and their families in limbo. We have always needed more than DACA and it is past time that Congress acts to create a more permanent solution. When it comes to our undocumented community members and the U.S. immigration system, we all deserve better.”

Jorge Loweree, managing director of programs at the American Immigration Council: 

“Yesterday’s decision was a major blow to thousands of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues that benefit from DACA’s protections, and the families and communities who rely on them. While the decision won’t have an immediate impact on people who currently rely on the program to live and work in the U.S. without the constant threat of deportation, it will continue to sow fear and distrust across the country.  If Congress continues to sit on its hands, waiting to be forced into action, the Republican-led state effort to kill DACA by a thousand cuts will succeed. The time to act is now. 

“DACA recipients across the nation work in our hospitals, teach our children, manage our businesses, and contribute to the fabric of our nation in countless ways. They have lived, grown, and put down roots under DACA’s protections for over a decade. If we fail them, we fail ourselves. It’s time for Congress to finally deliver.” 

Danilo Zak, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at Church World Service, said:

“Judge Hanen’s misguided decision is another devastating attack on DACA recipients, leaving them once again at risk. The DACA program provides crucial protections to so many of our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and leaders. It has been a crucial step towards living up to our nation’s promise as a country of welcome. It is critical for the Biden administration to take any and all actions necessary to safeguard the program. But these young people have been living in legal limbo for far too long, left at the whim of harmful court decisions and anti-immigrant administrations. Dreamers also need bold leadership from Congress to act to provide permanent status and assurance they won’t be ripped from their families and communities.”

Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance 

“Yesterday’s decision by Judge Hanen against DACA is yet another devastating blow to hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and loved ones. The decision is bad for communities, bad for the economy, and centers cruelty rather than dignity and common sense. For most DACA recipients, this is the only home they know, and we will continue to advocate alongside Dreamers who have fearlessly led this advocacy for years. Congress and the Biden administration must act immediately to create an enduring solution for our Dreamers.”


The Home Is Here national coalition is fighting to protect DACA recipients, their families, and all immigrant communities at the U.S. Supreme Court. DACA recipients are undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. They are also our nurses, our teachers, our coworkers, our family members, and our friends — and their home is here. For more information visit HomeIsHere.Us.

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