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Court Blocks First-Time DACA Applicants

This summary about updates to the DACA program was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

In a disappointing turn of events for Dreamers, advocates and immigrant rights lawyers, a federal court in New York on Wednesday blocked would-be first-time DACA applicants from proceeding with their applications. 

Two court decisions had been pending: the Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen case based in New York and the Texas v. United States case based in Louisiana.

The Texas case affects 800,000 DACA recipients and the debate is about the legality of the program. It claims DACA is unconstitutional and wants to put it to a halt. The state says if DACA recipients costs them even a dollar of revenue, it is too heavy a burden to their citizens. Yet, DACA recipients contribute in taxes, and to the community through several frontline jobs.

The Batalla case in New York: It affects 92,000 applications that have been in limbo at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for over a year. Of that number, about 80,000 never got a chance to get their DACA status. Because of these updates to DACA, their applications will remain on hold.

“The result is deeply disappointing not only to our class members, but also to their loved ones and the communities they belong to,” said Yale Law School’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic in a statement. 

The organization, along with the National Immigration Law Center and Make the Road NY, had filed the lawsuit on behalf of the first-time DACA applicants as well as recipients making updates to their status after lapsing for a year or more. 

Moving forward: Immigration attorneys say it is disappointing and unacceptable and call for a permanent solution for undocumented immigration families.

“We will continue fighting on behalf of our immigrant communities who need permanent relief from Congress,” said WIRAC in a statement.

Some advocates are also asking if USCIS will give applicants back the fees —$495 each — they paid to apply for DACA. Meanwhile, current recipients can continue renewing DACA protections, but they don’t know for how long these updates will last. 

As the Texas case remains in progress, it puts the future of the Obama-era program in jeopardy. Although DACA has not been a panacea for all challenges they face in the U.S. immigration system, it has been a lifeline for many.


New York

Suspended New York attorney sentenced in green card scam: Carlos Moreno operated without a license and scammed undocumented immigrants who thought they’d get green cards, collecting over $140,000 from his clients. Law360 (Paywall)

Attorneys say DHS sending asylum seekers to New York City with inaccurate paperwork: An officer signed an immigrant’s paperwork with a drawing of a winking-tongue-out emoji, while another allegedly sent a migrant to a fake address. — NBC New York

Around the U.S. 

Nashville advances bill to restrict using license plate readers for immigration enforcement: The bill will bar federal immigration enforcement from using the readers to assist with identifying, detaining, or removing immigrants. It will be heard for a final vote on Aug. 16. — The Tennessean

G.O.P governors cause havoc by busing migrants to east coast: A political tactic by Texas and Arizona’s governors to bus migrants to the nation’s capital is taxing its ability to provide emergency food and housing. — New York Times

Immigration’s effects on trade, commerce, prices in the U.S.: While the correlation between the rising prices and immigration may not be apparent, an analysis finds less immigrant labor in the U.S contributes to price hikes. — The National Law Review

Death threats alone enough to support asylum bid, court rules: While an immigration board said threats must be tangible to be used in an asylum claim, threats alone can support a bid even in the absence of physical abuse. — Reuters

COVID-19 delays cause U.S. immigration backlogs to spiral: Immigrants face a steep climb as they make their way through a system plagued by processing delays for visas, work permits, green cards and naturalization petitions. — Los Angeles Times

Washington D.C.

Opinion: Biden admin. must ban racial profiling in border arrests: Despite a broad public consensus that law enforcement officers should not use racial profiling, efforts in Congress to ban the practice have failed for decades. — Texas Observer

AILA urges senators not to harm immigrants with inflation bill: As the Senate considers the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the American Immigration Lawyers Association urges senators to reject provisions that would harm immigrants. — news release

Video Explainer: Undocumented immigrants can’t legalize their status in the U.S., but a new bill might change that: House Democrats introduced legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for immigration papers after seven years in the country. — The Hill

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