Politics How DACA went from temporary plan to forever battle
A federal judge just declared DACA unlawful. Here’s what that means.
The decision halts DHS’s ability to accept new DACA applicants.In his 77-page opinion, district court Judge Andrew Hanen concluded that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is unlawful because it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs federal rulemaking, by evading the normal “notice and comment” process in adopting new rules.
Initially conceived as a temporary solution for vulnerable immigrants, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has become an intractable political battlefield as Congress continues to punt, year after year, a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s immigration system.
After Congress stalemated on protecting one of the most sympathetic populations of immigrants — people brought to the country as children but without legal status, also known as Dreamers — President Barack Obama in 2012 created the DACA program to provide them temporary protected status. The program, with rare bipartisan support, enabled those covered to get work permits and go to school without fear of deportation. After Donald Trump took office in 2017, he tried to end the program. When that failed, critics of the program went to court to end it.
Judge orders U.S. to close DACA program to new applicants
U.S. Judge Andrew Hanen blocked tens of thousands of immigrant teenagers and young adults from accessing the Obama-era legal protections. Hanen, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President George W. Bush, did not order the government to strip the work permits and deportation protections from the 616,000 immigrants who are already enrolled in DACA. Current enrollees will still be eligible to renew their work permits and deportation deferrals.
The latest chapter has underscored the fragility of a government policy that has been around for almost 10 years: A district court judge in Texas last week struck it down, blocking new applications but allowing the more than 600,000 current recipients to stay in the program. More court cases will work their way through the system, but the onus is now on a Congress that has tried, and failed, for years to address the topic.
CQ Roll Call staff writer Suzanne Monyak joins us on the Political Theater podcast to talk about why even a popular program with support on both sides of the aisle continues to be such a political football, as well as what’s next.
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Money, motherhood and Trump made her miss DACA before. A judge's ruling is now halting her future .
Ariela Rodriguez was sitting in her car when the future that she imagined for herself and her family was crushed. © courtesy Ariela Rodriguez Ariela Rodriguez, 29, arrived to the United States from Honduras as a teenager, she had been eligible for deportation protection for several years but only applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2021. She found out on social media that a program that could shield the undocumented mother from deportation and allow her to work legally ceased to exist for first-time applicants like her.