A federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of blocking new applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Friday, stating that former President Barack Obama did not have the legal authority to offer protections to undocumented children brought to the U.S. from being deported.
The ruling by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Judge Andrew Hanen, orders the Biden administration to stop approving applications immediately. But Hanen noted that current recipients will not be immediately impacted. “To be clear, the order does not require [the Department of Homeland Security] or the Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that it would not otherwise take,” he wrote in the ruling.
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U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, said the Obama administration failed to follow federal administrative rules in launching the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012. But he put the effect of most of his ruling on hold while the case is appealed. “It is not equitable for a government program that has engendered such significant reliance to terminate suddenly,” Hanen said. As a result, the status of people currently in the program does not change, and they can continue to seek renewal of the DACA status.
Judge Hanen did state that the Department of Homeland Security cannot grant any new applications from people who have never been in the program. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, predicted the ruling would be stayed and said that Democrats would “continue to press for any and all paths to ensure that the Dream and Promise Act, now passed twice by the House, becomes the law of the land.” The American Civil Liberties Union said DACA should be protected. “Dreamers’ futures shouldn’t be in the hands of the courts,” the civil rights group tweeted.