A federal judge in Texas ruled that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program known as DACA that offers protection to young people who immigrated to the U.S. without documentation as children, is illegal. The determination, issued on Friday, July 16, blocks new DACA applications.
It's not the first time in its nine-year history the program has been suspended. The Department of Homeland Security has processed new applications for less than a year, since the program was reinstated on Dec.4 2020, after the administration of former President Donald Trump declared it unconstitutional and rescinded the program.
DACA started in 2012, when then-President Barack Obama signed an executive order allowing about 650,000 people (commonly called "dreamers") to get a two-year reprieve and grant them common rights such as a permit to work, apply for a driver's license, have a social security number and protect them from deportation.
According to the court ruling, DHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act (the law that regulates how federal agencies develop and enact regulations) with the creation and operations of the DACA program.
As of Friday night, President Joe Biden hasn't yet released a statement about the ruling. (In January, his administration released the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which includes an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented residents living in the U.S. before Jan. 1 2021.)
Friday's ruling won’t affect current DACA recipients. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen wrote the order won’t require to take “any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient.”
DHS will continue to receive new applications but cannot approve them.