In The News: Federal Judge Rules DACA Unconstitutional

Last Friday, a federal U.S. District judge in Texas overturned the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – commonly referred to as DACA – ruling it likely to be unconstitutional.

DACA was enacted in 2012 by executive action rather than Congressional legislation, and did not provide a pathway for citizenship, something the Republican party has always opposed for DREAMers. The program’s expansion was rescinded by the Trump administration, and in that same year announced that it would be phased out, which prompted several lawsuits to prevent it.

On his first day in office, Joe Biden issued an executive order fully reinstating DACA. On Friday, July 16, it was ruled to be unconstitutional by federal district judge of Texas,  Andrew Hanen, who wrote that “DHS failed to engage in the statutorily mandated process, so DACA never gained status as a legally binding policy that could impose duties or obligations.”

In Hanen’s written opinion, he said, “The executive branch cannot just enact it’s own legislative policy when it disagrees with Congress’s choice to reject proposed legislation.”

In a White House statement, Biden said: “Yesterday’s Federal court ruling is deeply disappointing. While the court’s order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision nonetheless relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future. The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA. And, as the court recognized, the Department of Homeland Security plans to issue a proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future.

“But only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for DREAMERS that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve. I have repeatedly called on Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and I now renew that call with the greatest urgency. It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally provide security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear.”

Indicted criminal, Texas AG Ken Paxton, bragged on Twitter how he had personally defeated Joe Biden on illegal immigration.

“This ruling is wrong and subject to appeal,” said Omar Jadwat, the director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “It’s absolutely urgent that Congress acts now through the budget reconciliation process to provide Dreamers and other undocumented members of our communities with reliable status and a pathway to citizenship.”

Since Congress has proven themselves useless and unwilling to enact laws to protect the rights of undocumented immigrants, immigration activists have been urging the new administration to act through executive action.

If the decision is not appealed, Congress will have to enact legislation, but since an appeal, and any positive action by Congress both seem unlikely to happen, DACA’s fate may be left in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Sources: NY Times, NPR,


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