HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge will reconsider the fate of a program that will prevent the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children.
US District Judge Andrew Hanen declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program illegal last year.
Last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said: he should watch DACA again next approved revisions established by the Biden administration in August to increase the chances of surviving legal scrutiny.
Hanen has scheduled a hearing Friday to meet with lawyers and discuss the next steps in the decade-long legal battle.
Hanen will likely ask attorneys for more information about the new DACA regulations, according to Nina Perales, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund who will represent DACA recipients at Friday’s hearing.
“It’s a safe bet that the judge will be asking for more filings and more legal arguments as he now has to deal with the issue of the legality of the Biden administration ordinance,” Perales said.
But a timeline for how quickly those arguments should be made and when Hanen will make a final ruling remains unclear until Friday’s hearing, Perales said. The new regulation will come into effect on October 31.
Several advocacy groups planned to attend the hearing and gather outside the federal courthouse on Friday.
Roosters last year DACA declared illegal after Texas and eight other Republican states filed a lawsuit alleging they would be financially disadvantaged and incur hundreds of millions of dollars in health care, education and other costs if immigrants were allowed to stay in the country illegally. They also argued that the White House has overstepped its authority by granting immigration benefits that Congress must decide.
“Only Congress has the power to write our country’s immigration laws,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Thursday.
Hanen found that DACA was not subject to public notice and comment periods required under the federal Administrative Procedure Act. But he left the Obama-era program intact for those already benefiting from it, pending the appeal. At the end of March, 611,270 people were registered with DACA.
A panel of three judges from the New Orleans-based Court of Appeals upheld Hanen’s initial finding, but sent the case back to Hanen so he could assess the impact of the federal government’s new DACA regulations.
The 453 pages of the new rule are largely technical and represent little substantive change from the 2012 memo created by DACA, but it was subject to public comment as part of a formal rule-making process.
But even if Hanen makes a positive ruling on the new DACA regulations, the judge could still rule the program illegal because it wasn’t created by Congress, Perales said.
“That’s why so many are now calling on Congress to act,” she said.
Following last week’s appeals court ruling, President Joe Biden and advocacy groups renewed their call for Congress to approve permanent protections for “Dreamers,” what people protected by DACA are commonly referred to as. Congress has failed multiple times to pass proposals called the DREAM Act to protect DACA recipients.
Whatever Hanen decides, DACA is expected to go to the Supreme Court for a third time. In 2016, the Supreme Court held 4-4 over an expanded DACA and a version of the program for parents of DACA recipients. in 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Trump administration improperly terminated DACA, allowing it to remain in place.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70
JOIN THE CALL