Plaintiffs are vowing to appeal the decision of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen who declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program illegal. This means that the government cannot approve any new applications but the program will continue to be available for existing beneficiaries.
Greisa Martinez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, called the ruling a "blaring siren for Democrats" and said that they would be solely responsible if legislation reform fails to happen.
Martinez Rosas stated that "until the president and Democrats in Congress deliver upon citizenship, the lives a million will remain on the line."
Hanen ruled in favor Texas and eight conservative states that sued to stop DACA. The DACA provides only limited protections for approximately 650,000 people.
Since June 2012, when former President Barack Obama established it, the program has been subject to a series of court challenges. In September 2017, the Trump administration declared that it would end the program. However, the U.S. In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration had not properly ended the program and kept it alive.
In a Friday evening statement, Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, stated that Democrats will continue pushing for the passage of the DREAM Act and asked that Republicans "join us in respecting both the will of American citizens and the law, so that Dreamers have a path to citizenship."
Hanen stated in Friday's ruling that the states had proven the "distress that DACA continues to cause them".
He said, "Furthermore the government does not have a legitimate interest in continuing an illegally implemented program."
Biden already has proposed legislation that would offer a path to citizenship for the 11 million Americans who are not authorized to live in the U.S. Biden also directed agencies to work to preserve the program.
DACA supporters, including those who argued in favor of saving it, believe that a law must be passed by Congress to provide permanent relief. Hanen stated that Congress must act if the U.S. wishes to provide DACA protections to the recipients commonly called "Dreamers", based on never-passed legislation known as the DREAM Act.
March's House legislation created a pathway to citizenship for "Dreamers." However, the Senate has blocked the measure. The Senate has yet to pass the legislation that would allow immigrants to become citizens. However, immigration advocates are hoping to include language that will open that citizenship doorway in the sweeping budget legislation Democrats plan to approve this year. It's not clear if that language will survive.
Texas was joined by Alabama, Arkansas and Kansas, Louisiana. Mississippi, South Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia. All of these states had Republican governors.
They claimed that Obama did not have the authority to create DACA, as it was done without Congress' consent. They also claimed that DACA drains their healthcare and educational resources.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and New Jersey Attorney General's Office defended DACA recipients by arguing that Obama had the authority and that states did not have the standing to sue them because they had not suffered any harm from the program.
Thomas Saenz (president of MALDEF) stated Friday that plaintiffs would file an appeal.
"Today's decision once again highlights how critical it is for Congress to act in accordance with the will of a supermajority citizens and voters in this nation. Saenz stated that DACA recipients and other young immigrants in similar situations will receive legislation that will give them permanent residency and citizenship in the United States.
Hanen refused Texas' 2018 request to suspend the program by a preliminary injunction. In a prelude to his recent ruling, Hanen stated that he believed DACA as it was enacted was unlikely unconstitutional without congressional authorization.
Hanen ruled that Obama could not increase DACA protections and institute a program protecting their parents in 2015.
Although DACA is often referred to as a program for young immigrant, many DACA recipients have been living in the U.S. since they were brought into the country illegally or with expired visas. According to the liberal Center for American Progress, approximately 254,000 children have at most one parent who relies on DACA. Some recipients include grandparents.
FWD.us president Todd Schulte expressed disappointment at Friday’s ruling. He stated that DACA was a huge success and has changed many lives.
"Today is a clear reminder that only Congress can pass a permanent legislative solution to the uncertainty and fear DACA recipients have lived with for many years. Schulte stated that DACA recipients, their families and communities should be free from fear and able to continue building their lives in this country. Schulte urged all elected offices to make every effort to help them.