Court deems Obama-era DACA illegal

Fox News reports that a federal appellate court has just ruled that the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is illegal. 

But, the court is going to allow those immigrants who are already in the program to stay.


It was in June of 2012 that then-President Barack Obama announced the DACA policy. The policy allows some illegal immigrants who were brought to America as children to remain in the country and become eligible for a work permit.

There is believed to be well over 600,000 DACA recipients currently residing in the United States. Estimates, however, vary, and some suggest the figure could be well over 800,000.

Over the years, Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have tried to get rid of DACA in various ways. They now appear to be having some success.

But, Joe Biden, since becoming president, has moved to protect the program, and, just recently, Biden took steps to try to specifically strengthen DACA against the Republicans’ legal challenges.

The lawsuit and the latest decision

A number of Republican-led states, in 2018, brought a lawsuit against the U.S. government concerning DACA. The states argue that DACA is illegal and that it is harming them financially in that they have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on people who are in the country illegally.

In July 2021, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen agreed with the Republicans, deeming DACA to be illegal. Hanen, accordingly, ordered the federal government to stop accepting new DACA applications. But, he did allow those already in the DACA program to remain, at least while litigation continues.

Now, the case has made it to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the three-judge panel has again sided with the Republicans. The judges’ decision is in line with Hanen’s. It deems DACA to be illegal, stopping new applicants from being accepted, but it also allows those already in the program to remain.

The judges also ordered a review of the recent changes made to DACA by Biden.

Biden responds

Following the decision, Biden put out a statement, saying:

I am disappointed in today’s Fifth Circuit decision holding that DACA is unlawful. The court’s stay provides a temporary reprieve for DACA recipients, but one thing remains clear: the lives of Dreamers remain in limbo.

Biden went on to blame the decision on Republicans, including “MAGA Republicans.” And, Biden called “for Congress to pass permanent protections for Dreamers, including a pathway to citizenship.”