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Texas Federal Judge Rules DACA Illegal: Faces U.S. Supreme Court Appeal

Federal Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas has declared that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program, which shields undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, is illegal. Hanen ruled that DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a law that regulates how agencies establish regulations.

Though the ruling doesn't impact current DACA recipients, it bars the government from approving new applications. Judge Hanen clarified that this order doesn't require immigration, deportation or criminal action against DACA recipients.

Nine states, including Texas, had sued to terminate the Obama-era DACA program, alleging it bypassed Congress's authority and imposed hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare and other costs. DACA defenders argue that the states failed to provide evidence linking these expenses to Dreamers.

The federal government, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the state of New Jersey defended DACA in the case. They pledged to fight to protect the program, emphasizing the need for Congress to establish permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented residents.

This ruling is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a third time. In 2020, the Trump administration improperly ended DACA before the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow it to stay in place. Approximately 578,680 individuals are enrolled in DACA, and its fate remains uncertain pending further legal proceedings.

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