United States District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas on Friday said the deferred action program for child arrivals was illegal and the federal government should stop accepting new claims.
The program, established by President Barack Obama in 2012, has protected from deportation more than 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States as children and have lived in the United States since 2007. This includes more than 180,000 here in California.
The latest figures available show that there are more than 600,000 current DACA beneficiaries and the judge’s order does not require their protection to be immediately removed.
The judge also clarified that “neither this order nor the accompanying injunction oblige DHS or the Department of Justice to take immigration, deportation or criminal action against any beneficiary, applicant or other individual. DACA that he would not take otherwise ”.
Coupled with the Biden administration’s plan to appeal the ruling, the practical impact of Judge Hanen’s ruling is likely to be quite limited. However, this is the latest turmoil for a program that must fundamentally be replaced with a permanent solution from Congress.
Last year, the Supreme Court blocked an attempt by the Trump administration to overturn the policy on the grounds that the administration failed to follow proper administrative procedures.
However, it is certain that the legal basis for DACA has been fragile from the start and that future administrations could terminate it if they wanted and following the appropriate processes.
As this editorial board has long argued, the objectives of the DACA are laudable, but presidential action is a poor substitute for the legislative solution demanded by an issue of this magnitude.
It doesn’t make sense to keep DACA recipients on their toes.
DACA recipients are virtually indistinguishable from any other American. They have lived here most of their lives. They went to American schools. They are anchored in American culture, in American communities. They started American families. They are American workers.
For many DACA recipients who were brought to the United States at a very young age, America is the only country they have known. Threatening them with the possibility of deportation is fundamentally inhumane.
The rule of law is of course essential to our society. But so are sensible laws based on respect for individuals.
The simplest thing Congress can do is pass a “clean” DACA bill granting legal status to those eligible for the DACA program.
Since the DACA requirements include a requirement for people to have lived here for more than a decade, to have entered the United States before the age of 16, and to be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, that means it’s a pretty narrow subset of people.
Congress could also expand the pool of people eligible for legal status. And in either case, Congress could negotiate a compromise that includes funding for border security.
This is the kind of work Congress is supposed to do, not show up, give speeches, participate in fights on Twitter, appear on national television and promise to do things that will never get done.
It is not, however, complicated. The DACA recipients are Americans. They are worthy of the legal status which affirms this simple fact. It is time for Congress to provide them with the permanent protection they deserve and for President Biden to make it a priority.