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Courts are still debating the legality of DACA

  • July 5, 2022

A federal appeals court in July is slated to hear arguments over the legality of an Obama-era program that prevents the deportation of immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children.

Despite this pending litigation, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., has called the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “illegal.”

“Today marks the tenth anniversary of the illegal DACA program,” Biggs tweeted June 15. “In 2012, Obama usurped Congress’ unambiguous authority to make immigration laws to implement this program. Rewarding people who violate our laws only encourage additional lawbreaking.”

Since its creation, DACA has been the subject of many legal challenges.

In July 2021, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Obama administration did not follow the law when it created the program.

The Biden administration appealed Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s ruling, and oral arguments are scheduled to begin on July 6 in the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals. Immigration law experts say the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

“The last word on the legality of DACA obviously has not been said, but DACA today is fully operational for those people who are current recipients of it,” said Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

Because a final ruling on the program’s legality is pending, at this point we won’t be rating Biggs’ claim on the Truth-O-Meter. In the meanwhile, here’s what immigration law experts told us about the program and why it may be “premature” to make a definitive claim about its legality.

Brief overview

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