A Texas judge’s recent DACA ruling sent waves of concern through communities of undocumented immigrants.
People gathered outside Dallas City Hall Sunday for a rally calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
Rosario Castillo came to the United States from Mexico 20 years ago and built a life housekeeping in Texas. Just one of her children is a natural-born U.S. citizen. The others recently applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, known as DACA.
The program has allowed thousands of undocumented young people who were brought into the United States as children, or overstayed visas, to live, work and stay in the country.
“They applied with DACA but now they are scared,” said Castillo of her children. “Now we don’t know what happens after this.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, of Houston, recently declared DACA illegal. The status of those already in the program will not change, and they can still seek renewals. But Hanen said the Department of Homeland Security cannot grant new applications for those who have never been in the program.
Hanen agreed with Texas and eight other states that sued to end DACA, arguing that President Barack Obama didn’t have the power to create the program because it violated what’s called the Administrative Procedures Act.
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Castillo drove from Houston on Sunday and joined others in Dallas concerned about their status or the status of others they know.
Fidel Carbajal came to Texas at 11-years-old. Now in his 30s, he said his life and his work are all here. He said he’s been denied DACA status because he did not satisfy the educational requirements.
“I wake up every day at five in the morning,” said Carbajal. “My work is a carpenter. Carpenter on the construction field. We start my shift at 7 and sometimes to 9 p.m.”
Biden called the judge’s decision deeply disappointing and said it, “relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.”
The president said the Justice Department plans to appeal the ruling. Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) criticized the president’s immigration policies.
"I think what the Biden administration is blind to, and that is because of the administration's open border policies, they are enticing millions of young children into a life where they could be trafficked or they could be harmed or some lose their lives,” said Abbott.
Carbajal said he simply wants to stay in the only home he’s ever known.
“This place is beautiful,” he said. “It’s a lot of opportunities.”
As his status remains uncertain, he and others are hopeful still for a permanent path to citizenship.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as of March 2020, Texas had roughly 106,000 active DACA recipients.
The House approved legislation in March creating a pathway toward citizenship for those impacted, but it stalled in the Senate.