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World Relief Urges Congress to Protect Dreamers After Appeals Court Decision Leaves Future of DACA Program In Doubt

October 5, 2022

Audrey Garden

BALTIMORE — Today, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a lower court’s earlier decision that the Obama administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegally. The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court to reconsider in light of new rules announced by the Biden administration. World Relief laments the ongoing uncertainty that this decision creates for DACA beneficiaries and urges Congress to act immediately.

“This is devastating news for Dreamers and underscores the urgent need for Congressional action,” said World Relief U.S. Director for Church Mobilization and Advocacy Matthew Soerens. “Although today’s ruling provides the court system another opportunity to consider the legality of DACA, the program is still in serious legal jeopardy, and for the sake of both its beneficiaries and for our economy and society as a whole, we’re urging Congress to act quickly and proactively to protect Dreamers. As an organization guided by biblical principles, World Relief has long advocated for passage of bipartisan legislation such as the Dream Act, which would allow these long-term residents of our communities who arrived as children the opportunity to pursue citizenship in the country they consider their home.”

The Biden administration recently finalized a rule to codify DACA into federal regulation, which is set to take effect on October 31. In its decision to remand the case, the appeals court determined that it did not have enough information to rule on the case in consideration of the new regulation.

Importantly, today’s ruling continues to block new DACA applications despite allowing the estimated 600,000 current recipients to maintain their status. World Relief expresses great concern about this decision, signaling that many young people who meet the requirements for DACA will continue to be denied an opportunity to apply for legal protections and employment authorization. Working through its network of local offices and church partners recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide authorized, affordable immigration legal services, we will continue to assist eligible individuals to renew their DACA for as long as the courts allow them to do so.

“Today’s decision is devastating, but it’s not surprising,” said World Relief President and CEO Myal Greene. “We’ve known for many months that this decision was likely, and nothing about today’s decision changes the reality that the fate of the DACA program is likely to eventually end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court — which, based on past precedent, is quite likely to rule against DACA, throwing hundreds of thousands of lives into chaos. The best solution is for Congress to act on a bipartisan basis, as super-majorities of Americans want them to do, to resolve this situation now, making these court decisions moot.” 

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World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that brings sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems – disasters, extreme poverty, violence, oppression, and mass displacement. For over 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and community leaders in the U.S. and abroad to bring hope, healing and transformation to the most vulnerable.

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