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.
Judge Hanen, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President George W. Bush, has given @DHSgov three days to post a notice on its websites saying that DACA was found to be illegal and that the government is prohibited from approving first-time DACA requests.
— Camilo Montoya-Galvez (@camiloreports) July 16, 2021
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.”
Democrats call on Republicans in Congress to join us in respecting the will of the American people and the law, to ensure that Dreamers have a permanent path to citizenship.
Read my full statement here: https://t.co/NzAjgfhQax
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 17, 2021
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.
Terrible decision on DACA by a federal judge in Texas.
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 (@JoaquinCastrotx) July 16, 2021
“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.
Terrible decision. 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. https://t.co/SFWUfGk71r
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) July 16, 2021
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.”
This rightwing hack judge in Texas is trying to unilaterally stop the DACA program. This decision must be appealed and tossed out. https://t.co/0vasO2vFZJ
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) July 16, 2021
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:
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 provides Congress with the power to make our immigration laws.
Congress never passed a law to authorize DACA.
It’s an unconstitutional and unlawful program as Federal Judge Hanen ruled.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) July 17, 2021
#BREAKING: WOAH‼️Federal Judge in Texas just ruled Obama’s DACA program to be illegal and for no new applications to be granted. Big WIN for America’s sovereignty!
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) July 16, 2021
Dear DACA Recipients: Wish you all the best. However, this is the United States of America. That means we put American citizens FIRST.
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) July 16, 2021
Of *course* DACA is illegal — it's absurd that it's taken NINE YEARS to get to this point. https://t.co/29Qwb0mHI2
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) July 16, 2021
Its about time.. breaking the law has consequences.. Don’t blame Americans blame the parents they knew what would happen if they broke the law.
— Michael Diaz (@MikeDiaz285) July 16, 2021
Well knew it was unconstitutional why did it take 6 years and a federal judge? Lol
— ʜᴜᴅsᴏɴ – (@auteur_theory) July 17, 2021
How is upholding a system that necessitates a exploited-class of person not illegal?
— Elysia (@ElysiaRios) July 16, 2021
There is a legal way to immigrate. They should try it.
— bigredkitty7 (@bigredkitty7) July 17, 2021
The judge is correct. DACA should never have been created by executive order. That was an overreach of Obama’s authority.
— chadinjaxfl (@chadinjaxfl) July 16, 2021
Imagine that… a judge actually upheld the law
— KT (@Buddybad143) July 16, 2021
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