Federal Judge Rules "DACA" Unconsitutional

Federal Judge Rules "DACA" Unconsitutional

A federal judge in Texas has ruled an Obama-era immigration policy unconstitutional, setting up the potential for hundreds of thousands of deportations to begin.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, policy violated the U.S. Constitution, which requires Congress to manage immigration affairs, not the White House. Former President Barack Obama infamously declared that the children of illegal immigrants, referred to as Dreamers, would be protected from deportation through an executive order.

While Judge Hanen did not call for an immediate end to the program while it works its way through the appeals process, he barred the Biden administration from processing any new applications.

“While sympathetic to the predicament of DACA recipients and their families, this Court has expressed its concerns about the legality of the program for some time,” Hanen wrote in his 40-page ruling. “The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches. Congress, for any number of reasons, has decided not to pass DACA-like legislation … The Executive Branch cannot usurp the power bestowed on Congress by the Constitution — even to fill a void.”

Eight Republican-led states banded together to overturn the policy, and their attention will now turn to a defense of Hanen’s rulings in appeals courts where they will likely continue to call for an end to the program within two years. Judge Hanen maintained that his ruling does not require the federal government to take any action against Dreamers while the case remains active in the courts.

Immigration advocates criticized the ruling and said a final say would ultimately be up to the Supreme Court.

“Judge Hanen has consistently erred in resolving both of these issues, and today’s ruling is more of the same flawed analysis. We look forward to continuing to defend the lawful and much-needed DACA program on review in higher courts,” said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.


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