a federal appeals court on Wednesday said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy violates US immigration law, a blow to an Obama-era program that provides deportation protection and work permits to nearly 600,000 immigrant “dreamers” , which do not have legal status.
Confirming that a three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Obama administration did not have the legal authority to create DACA in 2012From a federal judge in Texas that blocked the Biden administration from enrolling new immigrants in a decades-old program.
Despite its conclusion, the appeals court did not order the Biden administration to shut down DACA altogether or stop processing renewal applications, instead waiving an injunction from US Judge Andrew Heenen that called for current beneficiaries. retained the policy. However, the government will continue to be barred from approving DACA applications for the first time.
The appeals court referred the matter back to Henen, tasked him with reviewing the rules the Biden administration had legalized in August on the Obama administration’s decision to make DACA through a memorandum instead of a rule open for public comment. Unveiled to address the challenges. At present, these rules are applicable from 31 October.
The Justice Department, which represents the federal government in the lawsuits, said it disagreed with the ruling and vowed to “vigorously defend the legality of DACA as this case proceeds.” A formal appeal is likely to be filed by the Biden administration, paving the way for the conservative-leaning High Court to issue a final decision on the legality of DACA next year.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas said he was “deeply disappointed” by Wednesday’s court decision, condemning the “ongoing uncertainty for families and communities across the country.” He said his department would continue to process DACA renewal cases.
“We are currently reviewing the court’s decision and will work with the Justice Department on an appropriate legal response,” Meyerkas said in his statement.
In its decision on Wednesday, a three-judge panel concluded that DACA had legal flaws similar to another Obama-era program that would have offered deportation protection to US citizens and unauthorized immigrant parents of green card holders . The program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), was blocked in court and was never implemented.
“Like DAPA, DACA” is closed by careful planning of Congress; The program is ‘clearly contrary to the statute’,” the ruling said.
Like Hanan, a Texas judge, who last summer outlawed DACA, the appeals court to justify its decision to allow the government to continue accepting renewal applications for immigrants currently enrolled in the program. expressed sympathy for
“We also recognize that DACA in ten years has a profound significance for the recipient and many others,” the court said.
As of June 30, 594,120 immigrants brought to the US as children were enrolled in DACA, half of whom live in California, Texas and Illinois, according to data published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administration. doing agency. Program.
Wednesday’s court ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in 2018 by Texas and other Republican-controlled states, arguing that DACA was an overreach of the federal government’s immigration powers.
While DACA allows beneficiaries to legally live and work in the US without fear of deportation, it does not qualify them for permanent legal status or citizenship. Those enrolled in DACA had to prove that they arrived in the US by age 16 and, before June 2007, studied at a US school or served in the military, and lacked any serious criminal records.
The court’s decision could create a renewed sense of urgency in Congress to pass legislation that puts the program’s beneficiaries on the path to citizenship, a proposal with strong bipartisan support among lawmakers and the American public.
However, for more than two decades, proposals to legalize Dreamers have died in Congress amid intense partisan standoffs over other immigration issues. In the current Congress, Democrats would need to accept border safeguards to secure the number of Republican votes needed to pass such a legalization bill.
Mayrakas on Wednesday urged Congress to act “rapidly.”
“Last month, DHS issued a final rule to preserve and strengthen DACA, recognizing that it has changed the lives of the many dreamers who have enriched our country through their contributions,” he said. Told. “However, it is clear that only passage of the law will provide full protection for DACA recipients and a worthy path to citizenship.”