Say goodbye to one of the most significant remnants of former President Barack Obama’s legacy, because the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may be on its way out.
Implemented by Obama in 2012, DACA is a program that defers action on deporting undocumented minors as long as they meet certain requirements.
US Federal Judge Andrew Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled Friday that no new applications for the program would be accepted as the program was illegally created by the Obama administration.
Hanen sided with a group of states that sued Obama and ruled that the Department of Homeland Security violated the Administrative Procedure Act “with the creation of DACA and its continued operation,” The Hill reported.
“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,” according to Reuters.
Current DACA recipients will be unaffected by Hanen’s ruling and they will be permitted to continue receiving benefits under the program until other rulings are made.
It is up to higher courts, such as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, to decide whether to eliminate the program completely.
“For more than nine years, DREAMers have watched courts and politicians debate whether they’ll be allowed to stay in the only country many of them have ever known,” Obama tweeted regarding the ruling. “It’s long past time for Congress to act and give them the protection and certainty they deserve.”
For more than nine years, DREAMers have watched courts and politicians debate whether they’ll be allowed to stay in the only country many of them have ever known. It’s long past time for Congress to act and give them the protection and certainty they deserve.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 17, 2021
Hanen’s ruling comes after former President Donald Trump attempted to end the program—a move that was overturned by the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2020 that his termination order violated the APA.
Within days of stepping into the White House, Biden issued an executive order to “preserve” DACA, likely setting the stage for further controversy over this latest decision.