For the second time, a federal judge has deemed the DACA program unlawful.
District Court Judge Andrew Hanen found the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, whose recipients are often called “Dreamers”, to be unlawful in 2021.
Hanen affirmed his original conclusion on Wednesday in a 40-page ruling.
“While sympathetic to the predicament of DACA recipients and their families, this Court has expressed its concerns about the legality of the program for some time,” he wrote.
Last year, before Hanen received the case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said the policy was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
In 2022, the Department of Homeland Security undertook an effort to solidify the basis for the program, but Hanen said their new rule didn’t address the issues that had been brought up.
“DHS did nothing to change or resolve the substantive problems found by this court or the fifth circuit,” he wrote.
Hanen had the option to prevent the program from accepting new candidates, approving renewal requests, or deporting the roughly 600,000 Dreamers in the country, but he declined to consider any of those paths.
White House and Activists Respond
The White House issued a statement saying it was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling.
“As we have long maintained, we disagree with the District Court’s conclusion that DACA is unlawful, and will continue to defend this critical policy from legal challenges,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
“We are committed to protecting all the Dreamers who have throughout their lives enriched our communities and our country, and we continue to call on Congress to provide permanent protection to the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in the United States.”
Kica Matos, president of the National Immigration Law Center said, “While expected, today’s court ruling is devastating. It impacts hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth and their loved ones, who have already endured years of uncertainty stemming from politicized attacks on DACA.”