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Federal judge deals a blow to DACA and Dreamers

| Jul 20, 2021 | Citizenship, Immigration Law

Many wondered what would happen to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under President Biden’s administration. Based on the candidate’s promise to protect it and executive orders that undid damage caused by President Trump’s anti-immigration efforts, many assumed that there would be good news about DACA. Yet the program President Obama created in 2012 to shield young undocumented immigrants who entered the country with their parents was dealt a severe blow by a federal judge in Texas who sided with six states when he ruled that it was illegal.

What the ruling means

Judge Andrew Hanen, who George W. Bush picked, ruled that the Obama administration overstepped when it created the program. He found that Congress did not authorize the Department of Homeland Security to create DACA and prevented the previous Immigration and Nationality Act’s removal provisions. In addition, it disqualified thousands of applications received since December, when a ruling declared it was legal for DACA to accept applicants again.

However, he did not entirely strike down the program, putting some decisions on hold for now. This included allowing current recipients to remain in the country and legally work as long as they renewed their status. He also issued a separate ruling that stated that it was not “equitable” for the government to suddenly terminate a program that so many rely upon to keep families intact.

Congress also blamed

Activists spoke out after the recent ruling, stating that Congress’s unwillingness to resolve the fate of the DACA recipients over the last nine years, leaving Dreamers in limbo. Others still look to the judge’s ruling on this matter as a severe blow to pushing the program through. It also jeopardizes the safety of the applicants and their families.

Congress still working on it

The final chapter is yet written on DACA and its Dreamers’ pathway to citizenship. Check back to this space.