DACA was created during the Obama administration in 2012 to allow young unauthorized immigrants to remain in the country with temporary lawful status and apply for work permits. DACA status is granted for two years and is renewable. The Migration Policy Institute estimates the number of DACA recipients to be 643,560 as of March 2020.
On Sept. 5, 2017, the DHS issued a memorandum rescinding the DACA program. Multiple groups challenged the rescission, claiming the ruling was arbitrary and violated due process. Three district courts joined the DHS memorandum and required that DACA recipients be able to apply for renewal.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and oral arguments were presented Nov. 12, 2019. In its June 18, 2020, ruling, the court found the rescission in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act but not in violation of equal protection under the due process. The court particularly took issue with the reasoning given by the DHS for rescinding DACA and the agency’s failure to consider other policy options to address the program after it was determined to be illegal by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
However, the court also acknowledged that the DHS may properly rescind DACA in the future and that the department will continue to be bound by the attorney general’s determination, but suggests that the DHS may revoke benefits to DACA recipients while maintaining their deferred removal. Ultimately, the program’s longevity depends on altering the determination of illegality, which may fall to Congress.
The top 10 states of residence for DACA recipients are California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona and Washington. The top 10 countries of origin are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, South Korea, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and the Philippines.