By Mica Rosenberg | Reuters
NEW YORK, July 16 (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge in Texas on Friday blocked new applications to a program that protects immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation but said the hundreds of thousands of people already enrolled would not be affected until further court rulings.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sided with a group of states suing to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, arguing it was illegally created by former President Barack Obama in 2012.
Hanen found the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it was created but said that since there were so many people currently enrolled in the program – nearly 650,000 – his ruling would be temporarily stayed for their cases until further court rulings in the case.
“To be clear,” the judge said, the order does not require the government to take “any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient.”
“An unfortunate but not entirely surprising decision from Judge Andrew Hanen out of the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, who had previously ruled against DACA and DAPA- an Obama era proposal to allow work permits for parents of undocumented early childhood arrivals.‘
‘The effect of today’s ruling, for now, is that USCIS is enjoined from accepting initial DACA applications, but may continue to process renewals for current DACA holders.‘
‘We anticipate swift action from lawyers and immigrant advocacy organizations to combat this ruling and ultimately force the Supreme Court to rule on DACA’s legality or Congress to push forward legislation to help Dreamers obtain lawful status and not continue to be subject to the whims of whatever Judge or Administration decides to toy with their futures.“
–Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Law Dept. Chair