President Donald Trump stated last year that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Now, CNN reports that a federal judge in Texas has also stated the program will end, but has granted a temporary reprieve for the program.
Judge Andrew Hanen said Friday that he believes the program is illegal and likely would not hold up to scrutiny in his courtroom. DACA is a program geared toward immigrants who were brought to the United States as minor children. It allows the minor children to obtain the paperwork and identification necessary to work and go to school, and if the DREAM Act passed, it also offers a path to citizenship or legal residency for the children, who were brought by relatives or their parents.
Children who were under 16 when brought to the United States qualify for the program, which allows them to defer deportation.
Hanen could have issued a ruling that immediately halted the program, but chose not to at this time. Currently, eight states and two governors have challenged the legality of the program. The program was started under Obama, and was a campaign point for Trump, who has sought to end it since entering office.
Hanen has previously blocked similar programs from passing under Obama, which is why it’s not surprising that he is not in favor of DACA. However, in his ruling, which totaled 117 pages, he seems to feel that halting the program should not be done without careful thought.
“Here, the egg has been scrambled,” Hanen wrote. “To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country.”
Essentially, Hanen stated that since the program is already in effect and many are working, living, and using the resources, that to stop it cold would do more harm than good. Most of Congress wants to preserve DACA in some form.
“DACA is a popular program and one that Conress should consider saving,” Hanen wrote. Nevertheless, “this court will not succumb to the temptation to set aside legal principles and to substitute its judgment in lieu of legislative action. If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so.”
For now, DACA is still in effect and relevant permits can be renewed by Homeland Security.