A federal judge for the second time found the DACA program unlawful, but held back from ordering the deportation of the nearly 600,000 young adults, including a few thousand Indians, who remain in the country as â€œDreamers.â€
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, first crafted with a 2012 memo under the Obama administration, protects these undocumented youth brought to the US as children from deportation and permits them to work.
US District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, who issued the latest ruling in Texas Wednesday, previously found DACA unlawful in 2021, leading to a protracted appeals process.
“The Court, as it did before, hereby stays the effective date of the vacatur as to all DACA recipients who received their initial DACA status prior to July 16, 2021. The defendants may continue to administer the program as to those individuals, and that administration may include processing and granting DACA renewal applications for those individuals,” Hanen wrote.
Expressing deep disappointment at the decision, Biden administration affirmed they â€œare committed to protecting all the Dreamers who have throughout their lives enriched our communities and our country.
The White House also renewed its â€œcall on Congress to provide permanent protection to the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in the United States.”
Hanenâ€™s latest decision continues the limbo under which DACA has operated for two years: Current recipients can seek to renew their protections but new applicants are barred from applying.
An appellate court in 2022 had ordered Hanen to review the program again in light of the Biden administration’s efforts to now codify the policy in administrative law, an issue which had been the basis of Hanen’s original decision.
At a hearing at the beginning of June, a coalition of the largely Republican-led states who are challenging the program claimed the Biden administration’s administrative changes were not substantive and DACA remains unlawful.
The states, led by Texas, also argued that DACA recipients are an economic liability.
Hanen had sided with the nine states in 2021, agreeing with “the hardship that the continued operation of DACA has inflicted on them.”
DACA recipients have argued that the states failed to show proof of injury and were not accounting for the economic contributions the hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” have made after being able to enter the workforce, become homeowners and integrate into society.
Commenting on the decision, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas stated he was “deeply disappointed by the ruling and uniquely qualified to say that DHS believes DACA is lawful and Constitutional.”
â€œThe ruling preserves the stay, which means current DACA recipients will not lose their protection from removal. But this ruling does undermine the security and stability of more than half a million Dreamers who have contributed to our communities,â€ he continued.
â€œThe United States is the only home they have ever known. Congress has failed to act, and now Dreamers face an uncertain future, waiting to receive the permanent protection they deserve.
“Consistent with the ruling, USCIS will continue to process DACA renewals, and DHS will continue to advocate on behalf of DACA recipients every day, in the courts and through our actions. We stand ready to work with Congress on an enduring solution for our Dreamers,” Mayorkas stated.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also shared a statement noting the White House was also “deeply disappointed.”
“As we have long maintained, we disagree with the District Courtâ€™s conclusion that DACA is unlawful, and will continue to defend this critical policy from legal challenges,â€ she stated.
â€œWhile we do so, consistent with the courtâ€™s order, DHS will continue to process renewals for current DACA recipients and DHS may continue to accept DACA applications.
“We are committed to protecting all the Dreamers who have throughout their lives enriched our communities and our country, and we continue to call on Congress to provide permanent protection to the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in the United States,” Jean-Pierre stated.