Has Judge Andrew Hanen’s Ruling on DACA Altered the Landscape?

The DACA Ruling: Understanding Judge Andrew Hanen’s Verdict and Its Implications

The DACA Ruling: Understanding Judge Andrew Hanen's Verdict and Its Implications

News: On September 13, 2023, Judge Andrew Hanen, presiding over the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, made a declaration that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was deemed unlawful. This ruling has sparked significant uncertainty and concern among DACA recipients. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that, as of now, the Biden administration has not received any directives to terminate the program or cease the processing of renewal applications, thus allowing DACA to persist.

Overview of Judge Andrew Hanen’s DACA Decision:

On September 13, 2023, Judge Andrew Hanen declared the DACA program unlawful. Nevertheless, it’s essential to note that, despite this ruling, DACA recipients are still allowed to continue renewing their status at present.

DACA Recipient Renewal Procedure with USCIS:

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently accepting DACA renewal requests. If your DACA status expired less than a year ago, you can follow the standard renewal process. However, if your status expired over a year ago, the renewal process may become more complex and may require additional documentation or steps. It’s advisable for DACA recipients to consult with immigration authorities or legal experts for guidance on their specific renewal situation.

Applying for DACA Renewal After Expiration:

For DACA recipients whose status expired over a year ago, the renewal process is akin to that of an initial application. This process entails submitting crucial documents, including the Form I-821D, recent photographs, and the mandatory filing fee. Furthermore, it involves undergoing a background check and biometric screening as part of the renewal procedure. It’s essential to follow the specific guidelines and requirements provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when applying for DACA renewal in such cases.

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The Legal Basis Behind Judge Andrew Hanen’s DACA Decision:

Judge Hanen’s verdict is grounded in his belief that the creation of DACA through executive action exceeded the authority granted to it. He contends that the program encroached upon the rights of individual states, including Texas and eight others that had raised legal challenges against DACA.

Consequences of the Ruling:

While Judge Hanen declared DACA unlawful, he displayed leniency by allowing existing recipients to maintain their status. The USCIS continues to process DACA renewals. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that this ruling may be subject to appeal, and if a higher court were to endorse it, it could potentially result in the termination of the DACA program in the future. DACA recipients and advocates are closely monitoring the legal developments surrounding the program.

Continuing Legal Disputes and Ambiguity:

It’s crucial to acknowledge that this is not the first instance in which a federal judge has deemed DACA illegal. A comparable ruling occurred in Texas in 2018, but it was ultimately postponed by a higher court. The legal disputes surrounding DACA are expected to persist. Presently, the protective shield for young immigrants remains in place, but it’s imperative for DACA recipients to remain vigilant and stay informed about renewal options and the evolving legal landscape.

Judge Andrew Hanen’s recent ruling on DACA has indeed created uncertainty and raised concerns among DACA recipients. Despite the program being declared unlawful, current recipients are still able to renew their status. However, the ongoing legal battles pose a potential threat to the DACA program. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for DACA recipients to maintain vigilance, seek legal counsel, and stay well-informed about their renewal options and any shifts in the program’s legal status.


Q: Can DACA recipients continue renewing their status after the ruling?

A: Yes, despite the ruling, DACA recipients can still renew their status.

Q: What is the USCIS renewal process for DACA recipients?

A: The USCIS is currently accepting DACA renewal requests. The process depends on the expiration date of the recipient’s DACA status.

Q: Are there any ongoing legal battles regarding DACA?

A: Yes, there have been previous legal challenges to DACA, and the recent ruling may face an appeal. It is important for recipients to stay informed about any changes in the program’s legal standing.

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