(Milwaukee, Wisc).- Today, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard arguments in Texas v. United States, challenging the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. According to the National Immigration Law Center, Texas v. United States is the first time the merits of the 2012 DACA policy will be heard by a Circuit Court of Appeals. The timing of the Fifth Circuit decision is uncertain; in the past, the Fifth Circuit has issued opinions anywhere from a few weeks to several months after oral arguments are heard. According to legal experts, whatever the outcome at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court (NILC).
Texas v. United States reiterates the fact that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is a temporary solution and the lack of permanent protections leaves thousands of DACA recipients vulnerable to right- wing attacks that threaten to dismantle it. Last month in June, the DACA program turned 10 years old. DACA currently affects 700,000 DACA recipients living in the U.S. (American Immigration Council) with 6,540 active DACA recipients living in Wisconsin as of March 2020 (USCIS). In Wisconsin alone, DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals paid an estimated $15.9 million in state and local taxes in 2018.
Briseyda Bautista Gonzalez, Voces Kenosha member, DACA recipient, age 20 years old, reacted to the uncertain future with DACA and a lack of permanent protections by saying:
“I am DACA recipient as well as student and I am the daughter of two immigrant essential workers. I am speaking out for all my undocumented friends and families to demand that the time for change is now! The undocumented community has made it this far. President Biden and Vice President Harris made the promise to pass a pathway for citizenship and we are organizing to ensure that they and Democrats in Congress stay true to that promise. Undocumented immigrants, including DACA recipients, are essential workers and have been contributing to the economy for years, citizenship for them and their families, is long overdue!
I was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. At age 3 or 4, I arrived in the U.S. with my mom. Before I obtained DACA, my hopes of studying here in the U.S. were very low. As I entered my sophomore year of high school and heard all my friends talk about what universities they wanted to attend, it made me feel like an outcast because undocumented students have barriers to attending universities. Undocumented students have to pay out of state tuition rates, and are ineligible for federal and state aid. My hopes of attending college were so low to the point that I thought that I would have to return back to Mexico and continue my studies there. However, that didn’t happen. Thanks to movement pressure, DACA was won, and I am here in Kenosha, Wisconsin, my home and attending college.
Dismantling DACA through citizenship would be a huge stress relief . Having citizenship status means that I would be able to finish my studies and fulfill the promise I made to my parents. Not only that, but it would ensure the safety of my family not getting deported. They’ve worked so hard and have done so much for me to be at the point where I am today.
The fight for permanent protections and citizenship is for all our undocumented brothers, sisters, family, friends, and community. We demand no more separation of families and we know that it is possible for Congress and the Biden Administration to provide a path for citizenship! SI SE PUEDE.”