Federal judge in Houston rules DACA unlawful, halts new enrollment applications
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A federal judge in Houston on Friday ruled that an Obama administration program protecting undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children is illegal and halted accepting any new applications for the program.
The decision comes out of a challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that was filed in 2018 by Texas and other states that argued that the program violated the Constitution because it undermines Congress’ authority on immigration laws.
The decision Friday is separate from a previous ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that President Donald Trump’s attempt to end DACA in 2017 was unlawful. A federal judge in New York earlier this year then ordered the Trump administration to restore the program as enacted by President Barack Obama
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the program from moving forward.
The DACA program was created in June 2012 under then-President Obama to provide children who were brought to the country illegally limited protection from deportation and allow them to work here. The children are often referred to as “Dreamers,” based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act.
The program, which grants recipients a renewable, two-year work permit, is open to undocumented immigrants who came to the country before they turned 16 and who were 31 or younger as of June 2012. To qualify, applicants must pass a background check and be enrolled in school, have graduated or have earned a GED.
Some argue that allowing the program to continue puts stress on state resources and creates a never-ending pool of applicants that further strain resources, including school districts, which are required to provide all children in the United States with equal access to public education.