DACA to remain in effect, federal judge rules in Texas

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen today refused to order the federal government to suspend the DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - program implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012 that currently protects approximately 700,000 young immigrants from possible deportation.

Hanen is the judge who in 2015 blocked the expansion of DACA and the implementation of DAPA - Deferred Action for Parental Accountability - which would have temporarily protected certain parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents from deportation.

But in its today's ruling detailed in a 117-page documentThe judge decided not to issue a preliminary injunction on DACA and said that Texas and the six other states that filed suit to eliminate DACA in May 2018 failed to show that continuing the program would cause irreparable harm, considering that it took them four years from their first lawsuit to file their claims against DACA.

The judge also noted that the states could have included in their 2014 lawsuit the total cancellation of DACA, but did not. For this reason, the legal argument of irreparable harm to a program that was in place six years ago cannot prevail.

Although Judge Hanen questioned the legality of the program, he argued that suspending DACA would cause further harm to the program's beneficiaries.

"DACA is a popular program and one that Congress should consider saving. Unfortunately, the Judiciary is not the branch of government designed to rescue a program that should have emanated from Congress," Hanen wrote in his lengthy opinion. "This Court will not succumb to the temptation to set aside legal principles and substitute its judgment in place of legislative action. If the nation really wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so."

It is very likely that the plaintiff states - Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Nebraska and West Virginia - will appeal the decision and the case will eventually be evaluated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

WARNING: New DACA applications are not yet being accepted or processed. At this time, legal decisions only allow re-enrollment of individuals already in the program.

Applications for advanced parole for DACA recipients are also not being accepted.