A federal judge in Texas has not yet made a decision on the future of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.
The Houston Chronicle reports that U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision is unlikely to come until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in at the White House in late January. While Biden has promised to uphold the DACA and allow the program’s beneficiaries – known as “dreamers” – to stay in the United States, Hanen could make a decision that challenges its core legality.
DACA is an Obama-era program that provides undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children with access to temporary, renewable, resident and work permits. Participation depends on background tests that assess applicants’ educational level, military service history, and criminal records.
Earlier this week, however, Hanen heard arguments from Texas and eight other states jointly trying to shut down the DACA. They claim that former President Barack Obama exceeded his executive powers and violated the Administrative Procedure Act in issuing the executive order that created the DACA.
Protesters in San Francisco gather after President Trump’s decision to repeal the DACA in September 2017. Courtesy of Pax Ahimsa Gethen / Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0.
“Our lawsuit is about the rule of law, not the wisdom of any particular immigration policy,” Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “In a lawless exercise of executive power, the Obama administration tried to bypass our elected officials and establish the DACA through executive action. The debate on DACA as a policy is a matter for the legislature and any solution must come from Congress, as the Constitution requires. “
However, lawyers for the Mexican-American Legal Protection and Education Fund (MALDEF) say that Obama acted within his authority by granting undocumented immigrants only temporary reparation and no route to permanent legal residence.
“We are optimistic because we have come up with so many strong arguments as to why, firstly, the case should be dismissed outright and, secondly, why the earnings problems should be resolved in favor of DACA recipients,” said Nina Perales, MALDEF’s vice president of litigation.
Houston Public Media notes that several lawsuits against DACA have been denied in recent years, along with the Trump administration’s own attempts to shut down the program.
Still, HPM suggests that this lawsuit differs from its predecessors in that it challenges the DACA’s original terms. Paxton and his allies claim the program did not take effect until after President Obama circumvented the US Constitution and disregarded Congressional immigration services.
While MALDEF doesn’t believe the federal government has the resources to deport the hundreds of thousands of dreamers living in the United States today, the organization’s president – Thomas Saenz – said that without extensive legislation, the DACA couldn’t get out of Biden or otherwise someone can be protected reform.
“DACA,” Saenz said, “needs to be replaced by a legislative approach.”
Despite Saenz’s insistence, he told HPM that he did not believe that DACA in its current form was either illegal or unconstitutional. This is because the US Supreme Court ruled last summer that the Trump administration’s reasons for attempting to end the DACA in September 2017 could not be confirmed.
“If I were a judge,” Saenz said, “I would look at the Supreme Court and say to myself,” If the majority of the Supreme Court felt this was an illegal program, why wouldn’t they have just said it? “”
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