Court Case in Texas Shows DACA Program Remains Under Peril

December 22, 2020by Juan Lozano, Associated Press
People rally outside the Supreme Court over President Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), at the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

HOUSTON (AP) — A Tuesday court hearing over a U.S. program shielding immigrants brought to the country illegally as children highlights the peril the program still faces even under an incoming Democratic president who has pledged to protect it.

A federal judge in Houston will hear arguments from Texas and eight other states seeking to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which provides limited protections to about 650,000 people. Defending the program is a group of DACA recipients represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. A ruling was not expected during the hearing.

The U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled President Donald Trump’s attempt to end DACA in 2017 was unlawful. A New York judge in December ordered the Trump administration to restore the program as enacted by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

But the Houston case directly targets DACA’s original terms, as Texas and the other states argue it violated the Constitution by going around Congress’ authority on immigration laws.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to protect DACA. But a ruling against DACA could limit Biden’s ability to keep the program or something similar in place.

“DACA has to be replaced by a legislative approach,” said MALDEF President Thomas Saenz.

While DACA is often described as a program for young immigrants, many recipients have lived in the U.S. for a decade or longer after being brought into the country without permission or overstaying visas. The liberal Center for American Progress says roughly 254,000 children have at least one parent relying on DACA. Some recipients are grandparents.

In a court filing, the states suing to end DACA said the program represents a “limitless notion of executive power that, if left unchecked, could allow future Presidents to dismantle other duly enacted laws.” Suing alongside Texas are Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

MALDEF argues Obama had the authority to institute DACA and the states lack the standing to sue.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who is hearing the case, rejected Texas’ request in 2018 to stop the program through a preliminary injunction.

But Hanen has said he believes DACA as enacted by Obama is unconstitutional.

Hanen in 2015 ruled Obama could not expand DACA protections or institute a program shielding their parents.

“If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so,” Hanen wrote in 2018.

Congress has not acted since, with proposals falling short amid disputes between the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate.

But Saenz, of MALDEF, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling stopping Trump from ending the program should provide guidance.

“If I were any judge, I would look at the Supreme Court and say to myself, ‘If this were an unlawful program in the view of the Supreme Court majority, why would they have simply not said that?’” Saenz said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office did not respond to a request for comment prior to the hearing.

___

Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report.

Immigration

Biden to Prioritize Legal Status for Millions of Immigrants
Immigration
Biden to Prioritize Legal Status for Millions of Immigrants

SAN DIEGO (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden's decision to immediately ask Congress to offer legal status to an estimated 11 million people in the country has surprised advocates given how the issue has long divided Democrats and Republicans, even within their own parties. Biden will announce... Read More

Watchdog: DOJ Bungled 'Zero Tolerance' Immigration Policy
Immigration
Watchdog: DOJ Bungled 'Zero Tolerance' Immigration Policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Department leaders under President Donald Trump knew their 2018 “zero tolerance” border policy would result in family separations but pressed on with prosecutions even as other agencies became overwhelmed with migrants, a government watchdog report released Thursday has found. The report from... Read More

Court Case in Texas Shows DACA Program Remains Under Peril
Immigration
Court Case in Texas Shows DACA Program Remains Under Peril

HOUSTON (AP) — A Tuesday court hearing over a U.S. program shielding immigrants brought to the country illegally as children highlights the peril the program still faces even under an incoming Democratic president who has pledged to protect it. A federal judge in Houston will hear arguments... Read More

Supreme Court Rules Challenge to Trump Census Plan is Premature
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Rules Challenge to Trump Census Plan is Premature
December 18, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a challenge to President Donald Trump's plan to exclude people living in the country illegally from the population count as premature. Trump's insistence that illegal immigrants be excluded from the count could profoundly impact the number of seats... Read More

Federal Judge Orders Trump Administration to Fully Reinstate DACA Program
Immigration
Federal Judge Orders Trump Administration to Fully Reinstate DACA Program
December 5, 2020
by Dan McCue

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Trump administration must allow all eligible immigrants to file new applications for protection under the DACA program, and find a way to contact individuals who are eligible for the protection to notify them of the change, a federal judge ruled Friday evening.... Read More

Supreme Court Casts Doubt on Trump's Bid to Exclude Illegal Immigrants from Census
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Casts Doubt on Trump's Bid to Exclude Illegal Immigrants from Census

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's plan to exclude millions of immigrants in the country illegally from the 2020 census count appeared to fizzle at the Supreme Court on Monday. California officials feared that Trump's policy, if put into effect in the last weeks of his presidency, could not only diminish the state's... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top