July 19, 2021
President Biden says the Department of Justice will appeal a federal judge’s ruling against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protection against deportation to hundreds of thousands of young immigrants known as Dreamers who were brought to the U.S. without documentation as children.
The judge ruled the program, which also provides the immigrants work authorization, illegal and ordered the Biden administration not to approve any new applications for the program. The ruling does not immediately affect current DACA recipients.
Biden said in a statement Saturday that the ruling “relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruled that former president Obama overstepped his executive authority in creating the program in 2012, ruling that “as popular as this program might be, the proper origination point for the DACA program was, and is, Congress.”
“Even after the implementation of the DACA Memorandum, Congress has continued to consider and reject proposals to protect a DACA-like population,” wrote Hanen, who was appointed by former president George W. Bush. “The Executive Branch cannot just enact its own legislative policy when it disagrees with Congress’s choice to reject proposed legislation.”
Hanen also ruled that the government was required to undergo notice-and-comment rule making in adopting DACA, which it did not do.
Biden issued an executive order in January directing agencies to take steps to “preserve and fortify DACA” following efforts by former president Trump — ultimately blocked by the Supreme Court in a 5-to-4 decision — to eliminate it.
The program only reopened to new applicants in December, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reported considerable backlogs in adjudicating the flood of new applications. According to CBS News, USCIS reported a backlog of 81,000 pending first-time DACA applications at the end of June.