A U.S. District judge has reaffirmed his original ruling, deeming the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal.

Created in 2012 by the Obama administration, DACA provides illegal aliens who entered the country as children with a renewable two-year work permit and prevents their removal from the country.

On July 15, 2021, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ordered the annulment of the DACA program—created by the 2012 DACA Memorandum. This prohibited U.S. departments, agencies, officers, agents, and employees from granting new DACA applications and administering the program. 

Hanen’s decision was then affirmed by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed that the DACA memorandum violated the Administrative Procedures Act and that the program was unlawful. After changes to the program were made by the Biden administration, the case was then handed back down to Hanen for further review.

Hanen reaffirmed his original decision, saying the court will rule as it did in 2021. 

“That program is vacated, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is enjoined from implementing Final Rule DACA until a further order of this court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court of the United States,” Hanen wrote in his ruling.

Hanen also ruled that the Department of Homeland Security may continue to administer the program to illegal aliens who received their DACA status before July 16, 2021, which includes processing and granting DACA renewal applications. 

However, the ruling allowed DHS to “continue to accept initial applications if it so chooses, but it may not grant any.” 

The department was also told to post a public notice of the injunction on its website and all websites of relevant agencies involved in DACA administration or processing. 

In January, nine states—Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, and Mississippi—filed a lawsuit to end the Obama-era program after the Biden administration implemented a final rule that adopted the DACA memorandum with minor changes.

The states claimed they incur hundreds of millions of dollars in health care, education, and various other costs when allowing illegal aliens to reside in the states. 

Additionally, they argued that Biden’s rule to fortify and preserve the program oversteps his scope of executive power, saying, “no President can unilaterally override the Congress’s duly enacted laws simply because he prefers different policy choices.”

The Biden administration released a statement after the ruling was released:

“We are deeply disappointed in today’s DACA ruling from the District Court in Southern Texas. On day one of his Administration, President Biden issued a memorandum directing the federal government to take all appropriate actions to “preserve and fortify” the DACA policy. Consistent with that directive, the Administration has defended the DACA policy from legal challenges, and issued a final rule codifying this longstanding policy. During this Administration, hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients have been able to live and work lawfully in our country without fear of deportation. We are committed to protecting all the Dreamers who have throughout their lives enriched our communities and our country, and we continue to call on Congress to provide permanent protection to the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in the United States.”

Chris Russo, president for Texans for Strong Borders, told Texas Scorecard that he hopes this decision will lead to DACA eventually being dismantled. 

“DACA is clearly an illegally-created executive program that has no basis in statute and clearly violates the letter of federal immigration law,” explained Russo. “For too long, the courts have neglected their duty to uphold federal law and separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution. We hope this case will go forward and end in DACA being struck down permanently.”

The Biden administration is expected to appeal the decision.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.