Tuesday, January 31, 2023

US federal judge allows DACA to continue temporarily

HOUSTON ( Associated Press) – A US federal judge ruled Friday that the current version of the DACA program, which prevents deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the country as children, can remain in effect, at least temporarily.

District Judge Andrew Hannon – who last year ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal – said the rule could continue with the limitations he had previously set.

Under these limits, there may be no new registrations for DACA, but current recipients may continue in the program and request renewal.

In a hearing on Friday, Heenan ordered lawyers to provide more information about the program’s new regulation and said he expected more legal arguments related to it, but no date was set for a future hearing. It was also unclear when he would issue his final ruling on the case, which is expected to end up again before the Supreme Court.

“The legality of the new DACA regulation … is now the task before this court,” Nina Perales, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said after Friday’s hearing.

Karina Ruiz de Diaz, a beneficiary who is represented by MALDEF and who attended the hearing, said she was relieved by Hahn’s decision to keep the program in force, but was upset that the judge had upheld it. Refused to open to thousands of new applicants who need this protection. ,

Ruiz was part of a group of more than 50 DACA recipients and activists who gathered before and after the hearing in a park next to the federal courthouse to express their support for the program. Protesters carried signs that read: “Judge Hannon, do the right thing, protect DACA” and “Welcome immigrants.”

“It was important to be present at the hearing. We don’t want the judge to think it’s an abstract concept. I want you to see our faces, so you can see you’re affecting real people,” said Ruiz, 38. said, who came from her home in Phoenix for the hearing.

The current version of DACA, designed by the Joe Biden administration to improve its chances of surviving a legal challenge, is set to take effect on October 31.

The case returned to Hannon after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said last week that the judge should re-examine DACA after amendments adopted by the government.

Heenan declared DACA invalid last year after a lawsuit filed by Texas and eight other Republican-leaning states alleges it economically exploits them by eroding hundreds of millions of dollars in health, education and other spending. harms from. He also argued that the White House overstepped the bounds when providing benefits to immigrants, using an authority belonging to Congress.

“Only Congress has the power to write our nation’s immigration laws,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement Thursday.

Hannon then concluded that DACA was not subject to the public notice and public comment period required by the Administrative Procedure Act. But it kept the program approved during Barack Obama’s presidency, pending appeals, for those who had already benefited. Last March, there were 611,270 people enrolled in DACA.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court in New Orleans upheld Heenan’s initial ruling, but sent the case back to Heenan to review the effect of the new rule.

The 453-page regulation is largely technical and includes some changes from the 2012 memo that created DACA, but it was submitted for public discussion as part of a formal process for developing the new rules.

At Friday’s hearing, Heenan appeared hesitant to address the constitutionality of DACA, saying she wanted all involved parties to initially focus on issues related to the Administrative Procedure Act when reviewing the new rules.

Perales said the uncertainty about DACA’s ultimate fate in the courts should be another signal to Congress that it needs to act to provide permanent protections.

Following last week’s appeals court ruling, Biden and advocacy groups renewed their call for Congress to pass permanent protections for so-called “Dreamers,” the people protected by DACA generally. goes. Congress has failed multiple times in its efforts to pass the so-called DREAM Act to protect DACA recipients.

Whatever Hannon’s decision, DACA is expected to go to the Supreme Court for a third time. In 2016, the Supreme Court reached a 4-4 deadlock over expanded DACA and a version of the program for parents of DACA recipients. In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the administration of then-President Donald Trump improperly terminated DACA, allowing it to remain in effect.

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Juan A. Lozano is here: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

Nation World News Desk
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