Dems panic as federal judge finally rules DACA program is illegal; orders Biden admin to halt

Federal Judge Andrew Hanen of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas has ruled that the DACA program that allows “Dreamers” to stay in the country is illegal and all new applications going forward will not be approved.

On Friday, Hanen ordered the Biden administration to stop the approval of all new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program was initiated under the Obama administration in 2012 and Biden had sought to protect it and keep it in place. The president signed a memo after taking office that instructed DHS to take “all appropriate actions under the law” to preserve the program.

Calling the ruling a “blaring siren” for Democrats, United We Dream Executive Director Greisa Martinez Rosas is stating that they will be held accountable if legislative reform doesn’t happen. “Until the president and Democrats in Congress deliver on citizenship, the lives of millions will remain on the line,” Martinez Rosas declared in a statement.

“Judge Hanen’s rash decision to suspend the DACA program reiterates the immediate need for Congress AND the Biden administration to keep their promise and create a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented people in the U.S.,” the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services wrote on Twitter.

(Video Credit: KPRC 2 Click2Houston)

DACA provided protection from deportation and gave work permits to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors. About 700,000 illegal aliens are said to have been shielded by the program. There are hundreds of thousands in the U.S. that were considered still eligible until this ruling. The determination does not affect those who are already in the program.

Democrats and illegal immigrants immediately demanded that President Biden take action but legally, he allegedly does not have any recourse in the matter. The ruling will be appealed and may eventually wind up in front of the Supreme Court.

Judge Hanen, an appointee of President George W. Bush, ruled that the Department of Homeland Security violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in creating DACA and said that the interpretation of statutes was “overly broad.” He declared that the program was implemented unlawfully and ordered DHS to stop approving applications immediately. Oddly, he stated that they could continue to accept applications.

“Congress has not granted the Executive Branch free rein to grant lawful presence outside the ambit of the statutory scheme,” Hanen noted.

“DACA would grant lawful presence and work authorization to over a million people for whom Congress had made no provision and has consistently refused to make such a provision,” Hanen stated. He wrote that the states effectively proved “the hardship that the continued operation of DACA has inflicted on them.” The judge added: “Furthermore, the government has no legitimate interest in the continuation of an illegally implemented program.”

The judge has given DHS three days to update its site.

A coalition of nine states filed the suit claiming that DACA violated the APA and the Constitution. Those states include Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia

Former President Trump sought to end the program and Republicans have contended it is illegal. The Supreme Court has not ruled on DACA itself.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement on Friday evening, vowing that Democrats will continue to push for passage of the DREAM Act. “As we await the swift stay that the law clearly requires, Democrats will 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,” Pelosi proclaimed. She called on Republicans “to join us in respecting the will of the American people and the law, to ensure that Dreamers have a permanent path to citizenship.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and his twin brother Julian Castro, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Obama, called the ruling “terrible.”
“The dreams of hundreds of thousands of young people who are contributing to the American economy will be put on hold for no good reason. Congress must pass a pathway to citizenship this year. We can’t wait,” Joaquin Castro tweeted.

“Dreamers have lived in uncertainty for far too long. It’s time Congress give them the protections they deserve. We must pass the budget reconciliation bill,” Julián Castro stated.

New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell angrily posted on Twitter, “This rightwing hack judge in Texas is trying to unilaterally stop the DACA program. This decision must be appealed and tossed out.”

Despite the expected outcry from Democrats, Hanen ruled against DACA anyway, citing Justice Clarence Thomas. “Justice Thomas noted that the majority’s failure to address DACA’s creation was ‘an effort to avoid a politically controversially but legally correct decision’ that would result in future ‘battles to be fought in this Court,'” Hanen wrote. “While the controversial issue may ultimately return to the Supreme Court, the battle Justice Thomas predicted currently resides here and it is not one this Court can avoid.”

Conservatives celebrated the ruling:

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