Once Again, a Federal Judge Declares DACA Program Illegal but Says It Can Continue


For more than a decade, Democrats have been trying to legalize the children of illegal immigrants who came to this country with their parents when they were 16 years old or younger. The thinking is that crossing the border illegally is the sin of the parents, not the children.


It may have a certain logic to it, but it has no basis in constitutional law. And several federal judges have ruled that way.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program was canceled by the Trump administration but survives because of a technicality. The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration didn’t follow proper procedure in ending the program.

In 2021, Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the Obama administration had no legal standing to give work permits and deportation protections to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in 2012. While canceling the program and preventing any new applicants, he allowed current applicants to renew their eligibility for the program.

In his Wednesday ruling, Hanen wrote there were no “material differences” between the original 2012 DACA policy and the rule published by the Biden administration in 2022. “As such,” he wrote, “the Final Rule suffers from the same legal impediments.”

There are still half a million DACA recipients who are part of the program. And Hanen says they’re safe — for now.

“To be clear, neither this order nor the accompanying supplemental injunction requires 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 would otherwise not be taken,” Hanen wrote.



DACA, created in 2012, was intended to provide temporary reprieve to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, a group often described as “Dreamers,” and allow them to live and work in the US. Many of them are now adults. There were 578,680 immigrants enrolled in DACA as of the end of March, according to government data.

The Biden administration released a rule last year to “preserve and fortify” DACA, largely maintaining the criteria for the program. In January, nine Republican-led states asked Hanen to block the rule.

Hanen’s ruling comes after a federal appeals court largely upheld his previous ruling finding DACA unlawful. That ruling blocked the government from approving new applications for the program but allowed it to continue for current enrollees while the case was litigated. That remains the case today.

The DACA requirements aren’t very rigorous; no serious criminal record; coming to the U.S. before June 2007 and by age 16; and graduating from an American high school or serving in the military.

Hanen renewed his call for action by Congress — the only government entity constitutionally able to decide immigration issues of any kind.

“Litigation revolving around the legality of DACA, in one form or another, has existed for nearly a decade. While sympathetic to the predicament of DACA recipients and their families, this Court has expressed its concerns about the legality of the program for some time. The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches,” Hanen wrote.


Related: New York May Issue Pretend Work Permits to Illegals. Washington Is Not Amused

It’s still true that Social Security is “the third rail” of American politics. But the immigration issue has become almost as toxic. Nativists on one side, open borders freaks and one-world dreamers on the other. It’s an impossible mix to find a consensus, much less compromise. And like everything else, congressmen on both sides find it’s to their political advantage to keep the immigration pot boiling.



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