A federal Texas judge has declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) against United States Immigration law. However, he said he would allow the 600,000 immigrant “Dreamers” enrolled in the program to continue renewing their work permits and protections from deportation. He said he would allow this to continue while the court case policy over the Obama era proceeds.
Meanwhile, in the United States District Court, Judge Andrew Hanen has stopped the federal government’s plea to approve new DACA requests. He first issued this ban in 2021, which was when he conceded to the arguments of Republican-led states and declared DACA illegal.
Why the ban on DACA?
Earlier this month, in October, there was a ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court had discovered that this Obama-led immigration benefit was not created with legal authority. That is, the Obama administration had no legal authority to have created DACA in the first place.
Thus, this order to end DACA was in response to the ruling. Furthermore, the appeals court instructed Hanen to review the legality of the Biden administration, which was attempting to codify DACA into regulation.
When Will the Ruling Take Effect?
The ruling is set to take effect from October 31, replacing a memo released by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012. This is the same memo that Republican-led states, including Texas, have argued was not the right way to create DACA.
Hanen issued a two-page order after holding a hearing with attorneys, saying his ruling against DACA also applies to new regulations. This includes his decision to leave the program open for those currently benefiting from the program. He further declared that Republican-controlled states and the Biden administration agreed with this ruling.
This order will likely be the final judicial ruling over the future of DACA. Meanwhile, before the ruling, DAA had accorded thousands of unauthorized immigrants to the United States the opportunity to live and work there. That is, unauthorized immigrants could live and apply for work freely without fearing deportation.
What the New Ruling Means for Unauthorized Immigrants Generally
In Hanen’s words: “Nothing in this order or injunction order should be read ordering DHS or any other governmental entity to cancel or otherwise terminate DACA status for an individual that currently is a DACA recipient in good standing.”
That means immigrants currently on this program could continue renewing their status. Conversely, new applicants must demonstrate that they arrived in the United States at 16 before June 2007. They must have studied in a US school or served in the military without a serious criminal record.
These new regulations are expected to affect the legality of the new DACA. Meanwhile, the said new regulations are not different from the 2012 Obama-era memo he had previously declared illegal.
Government data shows that 594,120 immigrants were enrolled in DACA as of June 30. The program was created in 12, exactly ten years ago, to protect immigrants in the United States who came as minors. While protecting them, Congress worked to pass the “Dream Act,” placing them on a path to becoming United States citizens.
However, Republican-controlled states have argued that this program was against the United States immigration laws. While the federal court conceded to the arguments, the Justice Department, the federal government in litigation, may appeal the ruling. “However, it has not announced its decision; if it appeals, the Supreme Court could get a final say on DACA’s legality.” says attorney Zaira Solano of Solano Law Firm LLC.