Federal Judge Blocks DACA Program, Orders DHS to Cease Approving Applications

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DACA supporters outside the White House, September 2017. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

A federal judge issued an injunction on Friday ordering the Biden administration to cease accepting applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The program, initially established in 2012 under the Obama administration, allows illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to defer deportation for two years and to renew the deferral, as well as to receive work permits. DACA recipients are not granted a path to citizenship.

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The Department of Homeland Security “violated the [Administrative Procedure Act] with the creation of DACA and its continued operation,” Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas wrote in a ruling on Friday. “The DACA memorandum and the DACA program it created are hereby vacated and remanded to the DHS for further consideration.”

However, Hanen temporarily vacated the order with regard to current DACA recipients, meaning people currently enrolled in the DACA program will not have their status affected until a further court ruling. While people may continue to submit DACA applications, Hanen ordered the Biden administration to cease approving new applications.

Around 616,000 people are currently enrolled in the DACA program. The current complaint against the program was brought by the state of Texas.

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Previously, the Trump administration had attempted to end DACA, however the Supreme Court struck down the attempt in June of last year. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices on the bench at the time in stating that the administration’s move to end the program was “arbitrary and capricious.” Dissenting conservative justices wrote that the program was “unlawful.”

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