On Wednesday, September 13th, a federal judge ruled against a revised federal policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation, citing it as unlawful.
While this decision marked another challenge to the program, the judge refrained from ordering an immediate termination.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen concurred with Texas and eight other states in their lawsuit against DACA. This ruling by Judge Hanen is anticipated to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where DACA’s fate will be discussed for the third time.
In his ruling, Hanen commented, “While sympathetic to the predicament of DACA recipients and their families, this Court has expressed its concerns about the legality of the program for some time.”
He further highlighted the responsibility of the legislative branch by stating, “The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches.”
However, Hanen stopped short of ordering an immediate cessation of the program. Instead, he extended an existing injunction that prevents the approval of new applications while leaving protections intact for current beneficiaries.
Thomas Saenz, the president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is representing DACA recipients in this lawsuit, voiced his disagreement with the decision, stating: “Judge Hanen has consistently erred in resolving both of these issues, and today’s ruling is more of the same flawed analysis. We look forward to continuing to defend the lawful and much-needed DACA program on review in higher courts.”
Texas, leading a group of nine states, contends that the DACA program burdens them with hundreds of millions in expenses spanning health care, education, and other sectors. They argue that the Obama administration in 2012 sidestepped Congress to establish DACA.
The case’s defenders, which include the federal government, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the state of New Jersey, contest these claims, suggesting there’s no solid evidence linking these costs directly to DACA recipients.
As of March’s end, the program counted 578,680 enrollees. The fate of these “Dreamers,” as they’re commonly known, remains uncertain, with multiple past efforts to pass the DREAM Act in Congress proving unsuccessful.