Lawyers for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund had urged the judge to refrain from adjudication altogether, citing Mr Biden’s directive to the Department of Homeland Security to create rules to strengthen the program, and legislation recently introduced in the Congress that would put Dreamers on a path to citizenship.
“The decision does not reflect new developments in the law, including the Supreme Court and therefore presents numerous grounds for successful appeal,” said Thomas A. Saenz, chairman and general counsel of the legal defense fund.
“The most important thing is that the current recipients are protected,” he said.
Texas led the effort to end the program and was joined by Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Officials in those states had argued that the program was adopted inappropriately and left them with the burden of paying for education, health care and other benefits for immigrants who remained in the country under the protection of the DACA.
In his 77-page opinion, Judge Hanen said Congress has reserved the broad power to regulate immigration and has repeatedly refused to give legal status to a group like the Dreamers.
“The executive branch cannot simply adopt its own legislative policy when it does not agree with Congress’ choice to reject proposed legislation,” the judge wrote. “Congress did not give DHS the power to enact DACA.”
Currently, approximately 650,000 immigrants are enrolled in the program. Among them are some 200,000 frontline workers who held vital jobs in healthcare, agriculture, food processing and education during the pandemic.
President Donald J. Trump announced the cancellation of the program in 2017, but several Federal Court decisions have barred him from ending it completely. Beneficiaries were allowed to renew their DACA registration even if the new requests were not accepted.