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A federal judge’s invalidation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is “deeply disappointing,” President Biden said Saturday — calling on Senate Democrats to use legislative sleight-of-hand to protect undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. as children.
“This decision … relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future,” Biden said in a White House-issued statement.
“The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision,” he added.
A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that President Obama illegally launched the DACA program in 2012 when he issued an executive order preventing the deportation of illegal immigrants who arrived in the US before they turned 18.
Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas found that Obama’s order violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which dictates how agencies develop and implement regulations.
“As popular as this program might be, the proper origination point for the DACA program was, and is, Congress,” Hanen wrote.
Biden, in his statement, acknowledged the legal logic by calling on Congress to pass the program into law.
“Only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers,” Biden said. “It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally provide security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear.”
Top Democrats said Friday that their only hope of passing a sweeping immigration reform package through a divided Congress would be to cram it into a budget reconciliation bill, Politico reported.
Such a budget bill could pass on a party-line vote with no Republican support — but adding an immigration measure to the package might not be allowed under the Senate’s complex rules on reconciliation measures.
Hanen on Friday ordered the Biden administration to stop approving applications for the DACA program, which covers at least 616,000 people and allows them to work legally in the US without fear of deportation.
But, the judge noted, current DACA recipients will not be affected immediately.
“The order does not require [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 it would not otherwise take,” he wrote.
The ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by Texas and eight other Republican-run states that sued to halt DACA, arguing that Obama had bypassed Congress to establish it.
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