Federal Judge Again Declares DACA Program Illegal

Democratic efforts to extend legal status to the children of illegal immigrants hit another roadblock Wednesday. A federal judge once again declared the policy that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants unlawful.

However, the program may continue as he rejected ordering its immediate end.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was axed by the Trump administration only to hang onto life through a technicality. The U.S. Supreme Court found the administration did not follow proper procedures to end the program, and thus it remains.

However, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas ruled in 2021 that the Obama administration erred when handing out work permits and blocking deportation of millions in 2012.

The program was canceled and no new applicants were accepted, but current applicants could continue renewing their eligibility.

On Wednesday, Hanen reiterated his ruling two years ago. He said there are no “material differences” between the Biden administration’s reworded policy and that of Obama.

The current White House attempted to fashion a new DACA program to pass legal muster.

He concurred with Texas and eight other states suing to end the program. It is now expected that the issue will go before the high court for the third time.

Hanen noted that the executive branch is not constitutionally authorized to enact such legislation. It “cannot usurp the power bestowed on Congress by the Constitution — even to fill a void.”

His latest ruling continued the freeze on accepting new applications for the program. Hanen also rejected a request from the plaintiffs to end the program within two years.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre predictably criticized the ruling. Speaking on behalf of President Biden, she said the administration disagrees with the decision “that DACA is unlawful, and will continue to defend this critical policy from legal challenges.”

There are currently half a million DACA recipients who are protected from deportation.

Hanen made it clear that they are not in danger of being removed from the country.

To participate in the program that refuses to go away, the individual must have come to the country before June 2007 and before turning 16. They must have no serious criminal record and have graduated from a U.S. high school or serve in the military.