At the end of last month, a Texas federal judge decided not to end DACA, which shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Established by the Obama administration six years ago, nearly 700,000 recipients currently have DACA status--with almost 80 percent coming from Mexico illegally as small children.
Judge Andrew Hanen of the Houston Federal District Court declared that the program should not be stopped so abruptly. Qualified individuals can continue to apply for the program, which provides protection from being deported and a legal work permit.
Although the Texas judge believes DACA is likely considered illegal and may be terminated in the future, there were two issues which prevented him from ending the program now. First, Texas and the eight other states that sought an injunction to stop DACA waited over five years to file a lawsuit, which harmed their ability to claim damages. Second, despite the fact that the states could prove they were harmed because the program’s continuation, ending DACA immediately would be more detrimental.
However, Hanen made it known that an appeal of his denial is still possible. He gave the parties three weeks to do so before the case enters the next step of the litigation process.
In 2015, the same judge blocked President Obama’s attempt to add protections for undocumented parents of citizens and lawful residents. He made it clear that both DACA and DAPA were illegal.
President Trump aimed to terminate DACA last September, which caused confusion about the program’s future. Lawmakers in Congress claim they want to keep the program running, but failed to pass anything despite having two chances to do so. So far, three federal courts have ruled that the program should continue.