President Biden is being asked about the latest legal blow to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA), the Obama-era program shielding certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.
A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled that DACA is illegal and blocked new applicants.
The ruling from Judge Andrew Hanen would bar future applications. It does not immediately cancel current permits for hundreds of thousands of people — though it once again leaves them in devastating legal limbo and is a reminder of the uncertainty they face.
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” — many of whom are now adults.
But almost a decade since the program was established, DACA is still one of the only signs of potential relief for undocumented immigrants looking to remain and work in the US.
Hanen, an appointee of President George W. Bush, ruled that Congress had not granted the Department of Homeland Security the authority to create DACA and that it prevented immigration officials from enforcing removal provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
But he noted that DACA is part of the current American fabric.
“Hundreds of thousands of individual DACA recipients, along with their employers, states, and loved ones, have come to rely on the DACA program,” Hanen wrote in a separate ruling Friday night. “Given those interests, it is not equitable for a government program that has engendered such a significant reliance to terminate suddenly.”
President Biden on Saturday called the ruling “deeply disappointing” and said the US Department of Justice intends to appeal the decision.
Congress remains the only body that can provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients through legislation, but immigration legislation has been stalled for years and Democrats immediately called for action given Friday’s order.
Read more about the ruling here.