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Judge Orders End to DACA; Current Enrollees ‘Safe’ for Now

'If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so...'

(Headline USA) A federal judge in Texas on Friday ordered an end to an Obama-era program that prevented the deportations of some immigrants brought into the United States as children.

It comes as Democrats in Congress are unveiling their plan to attempt amnesty for some 6 million illegals—including many DACA beneficiaries—through a budgetary gimmick that would require no Republican compromise, likely adding more fuel to the Left’s brazen push for open borders.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled in favor of Texas and eight other conservative states that had sued to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

People who are already enrolled won’t lose protections, but Hanen is barring the processing of new applications.

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Officially, the program extends limited protections to about 650,000 people. More broadly, however, the executive order has been interpreted by Democrats as the basis to avoid deportations of any unaccompanied minors at the border.

For illegals themselves, it has long been seen as an invitation to send their children on a dangerous trek through Central America and ignore US sovereign laws with the promise of a free ticket to economic opportunity and generous entitlement benefits.

Hanen’s decision limits the immediate ability of President Biden, who vowed during his campaign to protect DACA, to keep the program or something similar in place.

The ruling is the second by a federal judge in Texas stopping Biden’s immigration plans, after a court barred enforcement of Biden’s 100-day stay on most deportations.

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Biden has already proposed legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without authorization. He also ordered agencies to make efforts to preserve the program.

Supporters of open-border policies, including those who argued before Hanen to save it, have said a law passed by Congress is necessary to provide permanent relief.

Hanen has said Congress must act if the U.S. wants to provide the protections in DACA to recipients commonly known as “Dreamers.”

Hanen’s ruling came after he held a nearly 3 1/2 hour court hearing Dec. 22 on DACA’s fate.

The states argued that former President Barack Obama never had the authority in 2012 to create a program like DACA because it circumvented Congress. The states also argued the program drains their educational and healthcare resources.

Suing alongside Texas were Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia—states that all had Republican governors or state attorneys general.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which defended the program on behalf of a group of DACA recipients, unsuccessfully argued that Obama had the authority to institute DACA and that the states lacked the standing to sue because they had not suffered any harm due to the program.

Hanen had rejected Texas’ request in 2018 to stop the program through a preliminary injunction. But in a foreshadowing of his latest ruling, Hanen said in 2018 that he believed DACA as enacted was likely unconstitutional.

“If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so,” Hanen wrote then.

Hanen ruled in 2015 that Obama could not expand DACA protections or institute a program shielding their parents.

While DACA is often described as a program for young immigrants, many recipients have lived in the U.S. for a decade or longer after being brought into the country without permission or overstaying visas.

Despite the fact that his predecessor had unconstitutionally imposed the program, the U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled that former President Donald Trump’s attempt to end DACA in 2017 was unlawful since he did not provide adequate justification for the executive order.

A New York judge in December ordered the Trump administration to restore the program as enacted by Obama.

Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.

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