Judge Again Rules DACA Is Illegal

Decision doesn't shut down program but probably sends it back to the Supreme Court
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2023 7:20 PM CDT
Judge Again Rules DACA Is Illegal
DACA students gather in front of the US Supreme Court in 2020, holding placards that spell out "Home is here."   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The federal program that has prevented the deportation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented young adults has been ruled illegal again, a decision that could send DACA to the US Supreme Court for the third time. In ruling that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, US District Judge Andrew Hanen did not order an immediate shutdown, the New York Times reports. New applications will not be accepted, but those who have the protection can keep and renew it, for now. The Houston judge specified that his decision does not require the government to take any action against DACA recipients.

Nine states had sued to put a stop to the program, per the AP. The same judge found DACA illegal in 2021, citing a lack of public comment as required by federal law. The Biden administration came up with a revision last fall to answer that objection, but Hanen wasn't satisfied. "There are no material differences between the two programs," the judge wrote. Hanen said Obama did an end run on Congress. President Biden and groups that advocate for the immigrants have called on Congress to approve permanent protections, but every attempt to pass the proposed DREAM Act has failed. President Donald Trump ended DACA in 2017, but a Supreme Court ruling in 2020 allowed it to continue, per USA Today.

Thomas Saenz, of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, criticized both of Hanen's rulings on the issue. "Today's ruling is more of the same flawed analysis," Saenz said Wednesday. The president of the National Immigration Law Center called Hanen's ruling devastating. "It impacts hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and their loved ones, who have already endured years of uncertainty stemming from politicized attacks on DACA," Kica Matos said. The administration is nearly certain to appeal, per the Times. As of the end of March, 578,680 people were enrolled in DACA, per the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services. (More Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals stories.)

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