Thursday, May 23, 2024

Federal Judge Declares DACA Program Illegal but Stops Only New Applications

On Friday a Texas federal judge declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, stated that the Obama administration failed to follow federal administrative ruled in launching DACA in 2012. However, he put the effect of most of his ruling on hold while the case is appealed.

Hanen said, “It is not equitable for a government program that has engendered such significant reliance to terminate suddenly.” As a result, the status of people currently in the program doesn’t change and they can continue to seek renewal of the DACA status, but he said that the Department of Homeland Security can’t grant any new applications.

On his first day in office, President Biden directed the Homeland Security secretary “to take all actions he deems appropriate, consistent with applicable law, to preserve and fortify DACA.” Under the program, children of undocumented immigrants can remain in the country if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the U.S. and if they arrived by 2007.

Government figures show that over 90 percent of DACA participants have a job, nearly half are in school, and many don’t speak the language or know the culture of their home countries. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by Texas and 8 other Republican states.

The states claim that the Obama administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), when it failed to first publish the proposal and to seek public comment before attempting to enforce it. The Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department had no comments to make last week, however the government is sure to appeal to the decision.

This case could end up before the Supreme Court, which is now more conservative than it was when it kept the DACA program alive a year ago. Sergio Gonzales, Executive Director of Immigration Hub, an immigrant advocacy group said, “How many times do Dreamers, and their families must be subjected to the whims of legal uncertainty and politician’s dead-set on deporting these everyday Americans? Enough. Judge Hanen’s ruling is a signal to Congress to act immediately and deliver a path to citizenship for Dreamers.”