LOS ANGELES – Attorneys with MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) on Wednesday presented oral argument in Texas v. United States before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

In 2018, a coalition of states led by Texas challenged the legality of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). MALDEF and pro bono co-counsel intervened in the case on behalf of DACA recipients who feared the Trump administration would not adequately defend the 2012 initiative in court.

MALDEF Vice President of Litigation Nina Perales and attorneys for the other parties were in court yesterday to appeal a 2021 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen. That ruling was made without a full trial and based on evidence submitted up to that point in the case that Judge Hanen deemed undisputed. In his ruling, the judge concluded that Texas had standing to challenge DACA, that the 2012 DACA memo exceeded the executive branch’s authority, and that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and therefore was unlawful.

Please attribute the following statement to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz:

“Yesterday's argument confirmed that there is no reason for this case to continue as a threat to DACA.  Texas has never shown a concrete injury caused by DACA, and therefore lacks standing to pursue what has been from the beginning a late-filed, politically motivated, and ill-conceived lawsuit.  This case was filed to take advantage of the overt hostility of the Trump administration toward DACA, by naming the United States as a defendant friendly at the time toward Texas and its xenophobic leadership.  The case should now follow the Trump administration to history's dustbin.”

Please attribute the following statement to MALDEF Vice President of Litigation Nina Perales:

“At the hearing, the judges listened carefully to the arguments. The attorneys defending DACA argued that DACA is legal and also that this case should not go forward because Texas lacks any injury from DACA recipients. We urged the court to either dismiss the case or send it back down to the district court for further consideration of whether Texas suffers injury from DACA.”

Please attribute the following statement to Maria Gabriela “Gaby” Pacheco, TheDream.US director of advocacy, development and communications:

“While the future of one of the most successful immigration programs is still unknown, we do know this: Recipients of DACA belong here, and it is inhumane for a country to know they exist while continuing to do nothing that will empower their lives. Yesterday’s oral arguments will only heighten the urgent need of a permanent legislative solution that can provide the immigrant community a path to citizenship and more fulfilling lives.”

Please attribute the following statement to Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream:

“We know DACA is right and this continued legal battle leaves the lives of DACA recipients, DACA-eligible youth, and their families with the threat of detention and deportation, loss of income, and so much more. Not only that, but there are over 80 thousand DACA eligible young people who applied for the program for the first time last year but saw their applications frozen because of attacks from politicians who want to hurt us. That is what this fight is about. A fight to protect people, families and communities across the country. We will continue to organize unapologetically with hope and love. We need the courts to do the right thing and find DACA legal, and our elected leaders to pass permanent legislation so that we are no longer living court case to court case.”

Read a timeline of the case HERE.

Listen to a press briefing following the hearing HERE

Read a FAQ about today’s hearing in Texas v. United States HERE