Federal judge declares DACA program illegal


HOUSTON (CN) – The judge accepted Texas’ claims of economic harm. He determined that Texas had status because undocumented immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action Child Arrivals program make the state’s labor market more competitive, making it more difficult for legal residents to find work.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision declaring deferred action for child arrivals illegal did not come as a surprise to the thousands of immigrants enrolled in the program. But many say they are increasingly depressed and tired of having their status repeatedly jeopardized by court rulings.

Poll after poll, a large majority of Americans are in favor of DACA recipients becoming citizens. They were smuggled into the United States as children or became undocumented with their parents when their visas expired.

Still, they graduated from American schools and stayed out of trouble. And they took a break when then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat, deployed DACA in 2012, to bypass Republicans’ reluctance to embrace comprehensive immigration reform.

Obama’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano launched DACA with a memo in 2012.

It allows some immigrants who were illegally brought into the country as children, who do not have a criminal record, to benefit from protection against deportation and allows them to obtain federal work permits and permits. of driving which can be renewed every two years.

The more than 600,000 people in the program come from 150 different countries, but 80% are from Mexico. The states with the most young DACA are California, New York, Florida, Illinois and Texas, which have over 100,000 people.

In an attempt to end DACA, Texas and several other Republican-led states sued the government in May 2018.

While advocates for the program point out that many DACA recipients are business owners and hundreds are in medical jobs that put them on the front line of Covid-19 patient care, Texas maintains that they’re draining his finances and filling jobs that might go to unemployed Texans.

Texas says it spends over $ 250 million a year on social services for DACA recipients living in the state, and that they have an advantage in finding employment because, under the Care Act affordable, employers do not have to provide them with health insurance or face penalties. , as they do for US citizens and residents.

Hanen bought the Texas economic damage claims. He determined that Texas had status because DACA enrollees make the Texas job market more competitive, making it harder for legal residents of Texas to find work.

Hanen, a person named by George W. Bush, discovered that DHS broke administrative procedure law by not subjecting DACA to a period of public notice and comment as required by substantive rule changes .

He rejected claims from 22 DACA recipients, represented by the American League’s Mexican Defense and Education Fund, who, joined by the state of New Jersey, stepped in in an attempt to save DACA.

Stakeholders argued that the DACA was not a major rule change, but simply an act of prosecutorial discretion – with the government deciding who it will not evict because it does not have the resources to eliminate the 11. million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

But Hanen noted that about 1.5 million people are eligible for DACA, and said Congress had not authorized DHS to pass a program of this magnitude.

“While the law certainly grants some discretion to the agency, it does not extend to the power to institute a program that grants deferred action and legal presence, and in turn, authorization to work and many other benefits to 1.5 million people who are in the country illegally, ”he wrote in a 77-page order.

Hanen canceled the program and sent it back to DHS to correct its legal flaws.

Hanen, however, suspended his vacatur order for those already enrolled in DACA, acknowledging that “hundreds of thousands of individual DACA beneficiaries, as well as their employers, states and relatives, have come to rely on the DACA program.”

The judge issued a permanent injunction prohibiting DHS from approving new DACA applications and ordered DHS to post a notice about it on its websites.

He said he also sympathized with the DACA recipients because they overcame many hardships and became productive members of American society.

“The judiciary, however, is not the branch of government that makes decisions based on the popularity of an idea or because many are sympathetic or biased towards a particular group or program,” he wrote. .

Hanen stressed that this role belongs to Congress. And Republicans are pushing for a solution to get the problem out of the hands of the courts and DHS.

U.S. GOP Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina urge Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois to co-sponsor bill to offer statute permanent legal to persons registered with the DACA.

Cornyn and Tillis said the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, which Democrats passed through the House of Representatives in March, does not have a “politically viable path” in the Senate because it would pave the way for the citizenship for around 4.4 million undocumented migrants. immigrants.

Angered by Hanen’s decision, immigrant advocacy group United We Dream on Friday renewed calls for congressional intervention.

“Hanen’s decision comes after years of Republican attacks. Remember, the Texas Republicans initiated and maintained this litigation to insure damage and expose hundreds of thousands of people to deportation. We need permanent protections NOW, ”the group wrote on Twitter.

Hanen knows DACA very well.

He issued an injunction in February 2015 blocking an extended version of DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, or DAPA, two guidelines that Obama unveiled in November 2014, after a coalition of 26 states led by Texas was continued.

The Fifth Circuit confirmed Hanen’s injunction. A 4-4 division at the Supreme Court in June 2016 left the order in place.

The Supreme Court weighed in on the DACA again in June 2020 when a 5-4 majority kept the program alive, ruling that the administration of former President Donald Trump had arbitrarily decided to end it.

The American League’s Mexican Defense and Education Fund and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Hanen’s decision Friday afternoon.

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