On Saturday, President Joe Biden said the ruling is “deeply disappointing” and that his government intends to appeal it. “While the court order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future,” the president said in a statement released by the White House.
On Friday, Judge Andrew Hanen, who is presiding over the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, ruled to partially end DACA in response to a lawsuit filed in May 2018 by a group of states led by Texas (later joined by Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia).
“Judge Hanen’s decision means that, as of yesterday, no new DACA applications will be approved,” said United We Dream (UWD), one of the nation’s leading dreamer organizations. “The immigration service (USCIS) may continue to process renewal applications,” he added.
While the program remains in place for the nearly 700,000 DACA recipients, Hanen warned in the ruling that there will be more decisions, a situation that adds the program – and those it temporarily protects from deportation – into a new uncertainty.
The only thing that can protect all young immigrants from deportation “is a path to citizenship through reconciliation,” says UWD. And he adds that not only dreamers will benefit from a law, but also holders of Temporary Protection States (TPS) and essential agricultural workers.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who leads the plaintiffs’ group for the program, said on his Twitter account that he had “once again defeated” the Biden government in “illegal immigration.”
Hanen’s ruling allows continued processing of DACA renewals, but does not allow new applications to be granted. The decision, contained in a 77-page document, concludes that DACA violates the Administrative Procedure Act and was in response “to a multi-state challenge directed by Texas to the legality of the program,” explains the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund. (MALDEF), one of the organizations that defends Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“This case should never have been filed and should never have progressed beyond its presentation,” says Thomas A. Saenz, the organization’s president and general counsel. “MALDEF’s lawyers argued that the states did not show harm from the implementation of DACA and that the initiative is a legal exercise of presidential discretion,” he added.
Saenz further said that “the decision was clearly determined by the opinions of the judge from many years ago, and the decision does not reconcile important recent developments in the legitimation law and presidential authority; therefore, it presents numerous reasons for a potentially successful appeal. “
“Now it is up to Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform so that Dreamers can continue to build their lives in the United States,” said Nina Perales, Vice President of Litigation at MALDEF.
The lawsuit argues that DACA violated administrative procedure. In addition, it notes that the program uses state resources for education and health, and violates federal law. MALDEF, however, notes that the plaintiffs did not show damages and that the program is still in effect for those who were registered.
In 2015 Hanen prohibited an extension of DACA and the implementation of DAPA, a program that protected 5 million undocumented parents of legal permanent residents and US citizens from deportation. The program was created by the Barack Obama administration in response to congressional inaction on immigration reform.
DACA advocates announced Friday that they will appeal Hanen’s sentence and the case could escalate to the Supreme Court of Justice. The second scenario will be fought in Congress, where Democrats, who control both houses, are looking to pass a law that gives Dreamers permanent immigration status.
The first step was taken on March 18, when the House of Representatives approved two bills with bipartisan support that include the regularization of some 3 to 4 million undocumented immigrants: one for dreamers and TPS holders and another for agricultural workers.
Both bills were referred to the Senate, but in the Upper House, where Democrats and Republicans each have 50 votes and the tie is broken by Vice President Kamala Harris, the opposition refuses to deliver the 10 votes necessary to convert the bills into law.
Republicans insist that they will not approve any immigration plan until the Joe Biden government ends the crisis on the border with Mexico.
On June 24, Univision Noticias reported that conversations about a plan for dreamers they were one or two votes to be sent to the plenary session by the Judicial Committee, but the talks were delayed not only by the obstructionism of the hard wing of the Republican Party, but also by the position of some Democrats who argue that immigration reform should include the 11 million undocumented and not just dreamers.
Despite the fact that talks between the two parties have not come to a complete halt to reach a bipartisan immigration agreement that brings a bill that includes citizenship for dreamers (and probably TPS holders) to the plenary session of the Upper House, the president of the Upper House immigration panel Alex Padilla insisted earlier in the week that, simultaneously with that effort, the issue should be included in a reconciliation package.
And the reason is simple. If negotiations led by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) fail and the budget debate stalls, they will lay hands on the ‘reconciliation package’, a legislative tool that allows laws to be passed by a simple majority of 51 votes and not 60 as stipulated in the regulations under normal conditions.
“They will take advantage of the current to include one of the main campaign promises of the president, albeit in a reduced way and leave out of the immigration reform, for now, the majority of the 11 million undocumented immigrants,” a Democratic source told Univision Noticias. with knowledge of the subject.
The reconciliation package tool was approved by Congress in 1974 to facilitate the passage of certain laws, especially related to spending, public debt, and taxes. Democrats, having control of the House, have the power to use it and advance the approval of the budget and, within it as an amendment, the legalization of the Dreamers.
Padilla said Tuesday during a telephone press conference that it was his “understanding and expectation” that a path to permanent status for undocumented immigrants would be included in the Democrats’ budget reconciliation package.
The California senator, who took over from Vice President Kamala Harris, further said that “I think it could be a matter of just a couple of months, if all the necessary steps are taken.”
And he pointed out that the reconciliation effort was backed by the White House, which sees no signs of progress in the Senate in the talks that are currently taking place behind closed doors in the Judiciary Committee.
“It is more important than ever that Congress act to protect Dreamers and provide them with a path to citizenship,” Padilla said shortly before Judge Hanen’s ruling.
As the Democrats go ahead with their plans, UWD recommended that Dreamers who have DACA protection renew their work permits on time. And take into account that the immigration service takes between 120 and 150 days to process the forms to grant the new employment authorizations.