The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Wednesday ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was properly deemed illegal in a lower court decision last year. The lower court decision ruled that DACA was illegally created and prevented any further applicants but allowed nearly 600,000 young immigrants to renew their status under the program.
The government asserts that DACA is a policy statement rather than a substantive rule, which requires stricter implementation procedures under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In Wednesday’s unanimous decision, the Fifth Circuit stated, “DACA created a detailed, streamlined process for granting enormously significant, predefined benefits to over 800,000 people” in a manner that constitutes a substantive rule. Because the court considers DACA a substantive rule, and because the program “did not undergo notice and comment,” it violates the APA.
The court did not overturn a stay order pertaining to existing DACA beneficiaries due to the “profound significance” the program has had on recipients. The court further remanded the case back to a lower court for review of a Biden Administration regulation.
In a statement, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said that he was “deeply disappointed by today’s DACA ruling and the ongoing uncertainty it creates for families and communities across the country.” According to Mayorkas, the Department will work with the Department of Justice to respond to the ruling.