DACA recipients face uncertainty as court rules program unlawful

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A federal appeals court has ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, is unlawful.

Now some DACA recipients detail the fear and uncertainty they face with this ruling.

DACA recipient Jaime Rangel arrived in the U.S. as an infant. He grew up and made a life in northwest Georgia. Rangel now serves as the Georgia State Immigration Director for FWD.us.

However, Rangel is constantly living in fear that DACA, a program that allows him to stay and work in the U.S., could end.

“I’m scared, I’m terrified,” Rangel said. “And now I have a two-year-old son, I have a wife, I have a family.”

This week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that DACA is unlawful.

“It was devastating because the first thing that came to my mind is what’s going to happen to our family?” Rangel questioned.

The court said current DACA recipients can renew their school and work permits for now. However, Rangel says “it’s heading toward a very terrible ending.”

Debu Gandhi, Senior Director for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, agrees.

“There’s absolutely a chance that DACA could be ended,” Gandhi said.

The case will likely end up before the Supreme Court and Gandhi says previous rulings by the high court signal the justices could decide to end the program, saying the court will “often rule against programs or rights that Americans believe to be lawful.”

Rangel says, “this is a call to action for Republicans and Democrats to do what they’re being paid to do — legislate.”

Rangel added that only congressional action will deliver permanent protections for young immigrants, like him, who face possible deportation.