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Attorneys for Mexico’s American Legal Defense and Educational Fund had urged the judge to refrain from making a decision altogether, citing Mr Biden’s instructions to the Department of Homeland Security to establish rules to strengthen the program and legislation recently introduced in Congress, The Dreamers would launch a route to citizenship.
“The decision does not reflect any new law developments, including from the Supreme Court, and therefore offers many reasons for a successful appeal,” said Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Legal Defense Fund.
“The most important thing is that the current recipients are protected,” he said.
Texas led efforts to end the program and was supported by Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Officials in these states had argued that the program was improperly adopted, leaving them the burden of paying for education, health care and other benefits for immigrants who stayed in the country under the protection of the DACA.
In his 77-page statement, Judge Hanen said Congress had reserved extensive powers to regulate immigration and refused several times to give legal status to a group like the dreamers.
“The executive cannot simply enact its own legislative policy if it does not agree with the decision of Congress to reject legislative proposals,” the judge wrote. “Congress did not give the DHS the authority to pass the DACA.”
There are currently around 650,000 immigrants enrolled in the program. Among them are about 200,000 frontline workers who performed essential health, agriculture, food processing and education roles during the pandemic.
President Donald J. Trump announced a cancellation of the program in 2017, but several federal court rulings prevented him from ending it entirely. Recipients were able to renew their DACA enrollment even though new applications were not accepted.