U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled on Friday that the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was illegally created by former President Barack Obama in 2012, and immediately blocked new applications to a program that protects immigrants who brough to the United States as children from deportation.  

Judge Hanen sided with a group of states suing to end the DACA program, arguing that it was illegal.  He did say that the hundreds of thousands of people already enrolled would not be affected until further court rulings.

DACA, is a Unites States immigration policy that allows some individuals with unlawful presence in the United States, after being brought to the country as children, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the United States. 

To be eligible for the program, recipients cannot have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records. The policy, an executive branch memorandum, was announced by President Barack Obama, June 15, 2012 and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for the program on August 15, 2012.

Unlike the proposed Dream Act, DACA does not provide a path to citizenship for recipients. The children are often referred to as “Dreamers,” based on the never-passed proposals in Congress, called the DREAM Act.

Hanen found the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act APA) when it was created, but said that since there were so many people currently enrolled in the program, nearly 650,000 who are known as dreamers, his ruling would be temporarily stayed for their cases and their renewal applications.

Hanen’s ruling allow the Department of Homeland Security to continue accepting renewal applications and said that current recipients will not be affected for now, bt a further order could change that.

The Judge said, “To be clear, the order does not require the government to take an immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient.”

President Joe Biden has pledged to protect DACA.  But a ruling against it could limit Biden’s ability to keep the program or something similar in place.

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