Federal judge says DACA program is illegal, blocks new applications

A federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of blocking new applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Friday, stating that former President Barack Obama did not have the legal authority to offer protections to undocumented children brought to the U.S. from being deported.

The ruling by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Judge Andrew Hanen, orders the Biden administration to stop approving applications immediately. But Hanen noted that current recipients will not be immediately impacted.

“To be clear, the order does not require [the Department of Homeland Security] or the Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that it would not otherwise take,” he wrote in the ruling.

The DACA program was first implemented in 2012, with more than 616,000 people currently enrolled, according to CBS News. President Joe Biden has asserted he would like to see a path to citizenship for Dreamers, which is not currently an option for those partaking in the program.

Hasen said he believes DACA violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which dictates how agencies develop and implement regulations.

The Supreme Court last year rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Obama-era program.

Protesters holding a sign that reads "DACA Is Not Enough" stand in front of the White House for photographs at a DACA rally in Lafayette Square Park in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
A DACA rally near the White House on June 15, 2021.
Zach Brien/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

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