An imminent showdown looms between the executive and judicial branches of the federal government following a U.S. District Court ruling which effectively halted President Joe Biden’s bid to expand the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In issuing a 77-page decision over a lawsuit filed by Texas and eight other states, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen deemed DACA as unlawful and directed the Department of Homeland Security to cease from accepting and facilitating new applications into the program designed to protect young immigrants from possible deportation in view of the absence of valid working permits of their parents.
The decision, however, ruled to maintain existing DACA recipients and applications submitted before the date of the court issuance, at least until after the court shall have finally released its resolution.
Hanen, however, clarified that that the DHS or the Department of Justice have the option not to file charges or effect deportation proceedings against DACA recipients, applicants, or any other individual that it would not otherwise take.
For the last nine years, the government has been slugging it out with the U.S. District Court over the issue that would determine the fate of over 600,000 immigrants forming part of DACA’s beneficiaries dating back 2012, then under former President Barack Obama.
Oddly though, immigrant advocates, who earlier felt bad over the decision, seemed looking at the brighter side of Hanen’s ruling which they claimed would compel Congress to fast-track on legislative bills seeking to secure pathway to citizenship to immigrants who have been long enough in the U.S.
Interestingly, advocates are also worried to some extent adding that failure of the Congress to act fast could strip them of protection from deportation and work permits.
Relatedly, Democrats at the Congress hinted at a plan that would include immigration measures such as a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, recipients of Temporary Protected Status and essential workers, like farm workers as part of the $3.5 trillion spending bill.
In the event that the Congress adopts measures propelled by the Democrats, the bill will still have to get the concurrence of the Senate, which would decide whether or not to allow it to be part of the final package.
In a statement, Senator Bob Menendez said: “Not a surprise, just a painful reminder that we need to stop relying on temporary immigration fixes. Congress must seize the moment and any and all opportunities to finally provide a pathway to legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants.”
In a separate statement issued by the Immigration Hub, its executive director Sergio Gonzales said: “We don’t need to hear Republican talking points — the solution is clear, and all leaders should have the will and commitment to leave politics aside and advance this long-held promise, carrying the weight of public support and the urgency of the moment.”
Earlier reports had the Biden administration keen on the idea of filing an appeal to the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.