Federal judge orders Biden administration not to renew DACA applications

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DACA was created by the Obama administration in 2012.

Federal Judge ordered Friday that all applications for the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program be stopped by the Biden administration. The judge ruled that the Obama-era program was unlawful, causing a major setback to the Biden administration’s efforts to preserve the program.

DACA, which was created by the Obama administration in 2012, granted protection from deportation to illegal immigrants who arrived as minors and work permits. The program has granted protection to approximately 700,000. Hundreds of thousands more are eligible.

Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The judge ruled that the policy was illegally implemented and ordered DHS not to approve DACA applications. However, he stated that DHS could accept new applications and that it doesn’t affect any DACA recipients.

Judge ruled that the agency had interpreted statutes too broadly and therefore the laws were not able to authorize the federal government’s establishment of the program.

Hanen wrote that the DACA would allow lawful presence and work authorization for more than a million people for which Congress has not made any provision.

A coalition of states, led by Texas, brought the suit. They argued that the policy was in violation of the Constitution and the APA.

Republicans repeatedly claimed the program was illegal. President Donald Trump attempted to repeal it. The Supreme Court rejected that effort, finding it “arbitrary and capricious” while not ruling on actual program.

Democrats, the Biden administration, and some Republicans have supported pathways for citizenship for DACA recipients. Democrats and activists have called them “dreamers.” Many of these pushes broaden the category to include DACA recipients as well as those who are DACA eligible.

After entering office, President Biden signed a memo requesting DHS to “take all appropriate actions under law” to save DACA and asking Congress to grant citizenship to recipients.

This year, Congress has made several attempts to grant legal status to DACA recipients. Recently, Rep. Pramila Jaipal (D-Wash.) stated that the Democratic budget proposal included a pathway to citizenship for many illegal immigrant groups, including DACA recipients. This proposal may be possible for Democrats to pass without Republican support.

The ruling was used by immigration activists to renew their push for citizenship for all illegal immigrants.

“Judge Hanen’s sudden decision to suspend DACA reiterates the urgent need for Congress AND Biden to keep their promise and create an avenue to citizenship for all undocumented persons in the U.S.” The Refugee and Immigrant Centre for Education and Legal Service tweeted.