Despite multiple court rulings that have blocked efforts by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, several DACA recipients remain nervous about renewing their status, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Citing figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the report noted that despite an increase in recent months of the number of applicants and renewals, “many DACA recipients are still hanging back.” Among their reasons are the fear of providing authorities with personal information and the uncertainty that lingers regarding DACA’s fate in the courts, including the possibility that the Supreme Court will ultimately weigh in.
“I think there’s massive anxiety,” immigration attorney David Leopold told the newspaper. “Look at the president. You don’t know from one day to the next what’s going to happen with this White House.”
In early January, a U.S. district judge in San Francisco issued a temporary injunction blocking the Trump administration’s attempt to end the program by March. Two other judges—in New York and the District of Colombia—issued similar rulings, calling the Trump administration’s order “unjustified,” “arbitrary,” and “capricious.”
According to the Times:
Renewal applications were slow to come in after the window reopened on Jan. 10 — just 11,000 through Jan. 31. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services didn’t approve any of them at first, statistics show.
But more than 59,000 applications came in during February and March, and 32,000 were approved, the figures show. All told, counting applications already in the pipeline before January, the agency approved more than 55,000 applications in the first three months of the year. Another 51,000 were pending on March 31, a jump from December.
“The federal statistics tell a story of thousands of procrastinations, private calculations and personal gambles,” the newspaper added. Already, some 9,000 people have lost their status.
On May 1, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of seven states, asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to declare DACA unlawful. That prompted Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin to accuse Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “conspiring with Texas and other states to undermine DACA.”
The lawsuit will be heard by the same judge who issued a nationwide injunction in 2015 against the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, or DAPA, USA Today reported. “The situation could become so complex that the Department of Homeland Security might continue to process DACA renewals in some parts of the country and not others while the case moves toward the Supreme Court,” the newspaper noted, citing former chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Stephen Legomsky.
Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers this week introduced a discharge petition to force several pieces of immigration legislation to the floor of the House for debate. The move seeks to overcome House Speaker Paul Ryan’s resistance to bringing any immigration legislation up for a vote.
Given all of this, it’s understandable why many DACA recipients would be nervous. “I think it’s a real difficult decision,” Center for American Progress senior policy analyst Nicole Prchal Svajlenka told the Times.