DACA lawsuit: Republican-led states ask judge to shut down ‘Dreamers’

Washington Nine Republican-controlled states asked a federal judge in Texas on Tuesday to Close file Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in its entirety Over two years, in a move that would prevent nearly 600,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers” from renewing deportation protections and work permits.

The request from the Texas-led coalition of states represents the most urgent legal threat to the DACA program under Obama, which has persisted to this day, albeit in a limited way, despite years-old lawsuits and challenges to its legality and former President Donald Trump’s. Trump attempts to dismantle it.

For more than a decade, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants without legal status who were brought to the United States as children to work and live in the country without fear of deportation. But the program does not grant them permanent residency, a status that only Congress can grant. As of September 2022, 589,660 youth are enrolled in DACA, Federal Statistics Watch.

At the heart of Republican state officials’ request on Tuesday are the rules passed by the Biden administration to put DACA on a firmer legal footing by turning the program into Federal regulation. In October, those regulations replaced an Obama administration memorandum that first created DACA in 2012.

At the request of the same group of states, US District Court Andrew Hanen announce The 2012 DACA warrant is illegal in the summer of 2021. Hanin’s ruling, which was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last year, blocked the government from first-time approval of DACA applications. But it also allowed existing DACA recipients to continue renewing their enrollment in the program.

However, states challenging DACA’s legality asked Hanen on Tuesday to find regulations passed last year illegal and To prevent the government from approving renewal requests two years after the decision was made.

“The final rule — as the latest manifestation of the DACA program — is fundamentally illegal for the same reasons as the DACA memorandum,” states said in its filing. “The court should declare it illegal and unconstitutional, strike it outright, and order it to be implemented permanently (with judicious transition for existing DACA recipients).”

DACA protest in Washington
Pro-DACA protesters march outside the US Capitol to demand a path to citizenship on November 17, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

While the Biden administration’s regulations address one of the legal claims against DACA — which should have been created through a regulation open to public comment — it likely won’t change Hanen’s view that the policy itself violates US law, since the regulations are identical to a 2012 memorandum declared illegal.

However, it is unclear if Hanin would agree to block DACA renewal in the future, since he has previously expressed concern about the disruption to the lives of immigrants enrolled in the program. Henein’s ruling is expected after the April 6 deadline for parties in the case to submit filings.

said Nina Perales, vice president of litigation at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which advocates for the legality of the program alongside the Biden and New Jersey administrations.

Republican-led states are asking a judge to shut down DACA by
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A ruling that shuts down DACA or declares the program illegal will likely be appealed to the Fifth Circuit by the Biden administration, and the case could eventually reach the Supreme Court.

The states that joined Texas’ bid to end DACA were Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas and Mississippi. They argued that DACA is an illegal override of executive power, and that only Congress has the power to grant federal benefits to unauthorized immigrants.

The prospect of DACA’s demise could reignite debates in Congress about legalizing entrants to the program, a proposal with broad bipartisanship. the support among Americans. But efforts in Congress to pass such a proposal have repeatedly collapsed since 2001 amid broader partisan disagreements over US immigration policy.

“Unfortunately, our Congress has been polarized and unable to pass any major immigration reform legislation — and I think that’s very unlikely to happen in 2023,” said Steve Yale Loehr, a Cornell University professor who studies the US immigration system.

The only way the new Congress sees offering DACA recipients permanent legal status, Yale-Loehr said, is as part of a broader deal that includes measures to restrict asylum along the US-Mexico border to address the concerns of Republican lawmakers, who have a slim majority in the US. a house.

Camila de Pierola, 25, who has lived in the United States since her family left Peru when she was a year old, said DACA termination would thwart her dreams of becoming a doctor. The Bay Area resident said she plans to attend medical school this fall, after earning a master’s degree from UC Berkeley in May.

“How will I be able to support myself financially? That will be one big question mark. I’m sure there will be a lot of anger as well,” said de Pierola, who has been enrolled in DACA her entire adult life.

Di Perola noted that while some medical schools Acceptance DACA registered applicants, many of them do not accept students who do not have legal immigration status. Residency programs also require students to prove that they are legally authorized to work in the United States.

DACA enrollees had to pass background checks and meet several eligibility requirements, including proof that they had arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and before June 2007, attended a US school or served in the military, and lacked any serious criminal record.

Two-thirds of immigrants registered with DACA are between the ages of 21 and 30, and 81% were born in Mexico, according to government data. Other countries of origin benefiting from DACA include El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and South Korea.

The Trump administration moved to end DACA in the fall of 2017, arguing that the policy was illegal. But the program has been kept alive by federal courts, including the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2020 that the Trump administration had not properly canceled the program.

However, DACA has been closed, for the most part, to new first-time applicants for the past five years. It was opened to new registrants for several months after a court ruling in late 2020, but Hanen, a Texas judge, first blocked DACA applications from being approved in July 2021, and the program has since been closed.

Saúl Rascón Salazar, 21, of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, was able to apply for DACA before the Trump administration tried to nullify it. He was raised in Phoenix after leaving Mexico in 2006, when he was 5 years old. While they have similar stories, one of Rascón Salazar’s younger brothers is not registered with DACA because it was closed to new applicants before he could meet the age eligibility.

“It was more difficult for him,” Racon Salazar said, noting that his brother is struggling to get financial aid for college.

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Saúl Rascón Salazar, age 21, a DACA recipient, was born in Mexico but has lived in the United States since he was 5 years old.

Saúl Rascon Salazar

Racon Salazar said DACA allowed him to work and get financial help to pay for college. His enrollment in the program also motivated him to advocate on behalf of other immigrants. He said a court ruling to shut down DACA “would be devastating.”

“He’s going to be a great middle finger for everything I’ve done,” Racon Salazar added.

Leon Rodriguez, who oversaw DACA as director of USCIS during former President Barack Obama’s second term, said any unilateral actions the Biden administration could take in response to the decision to end the program would be limited.

The administration could enact a new policy requiring immigration agents to refrain from deporting DACA recipients, without providing them with work permits, but Rodriguez said that would be “nearly worthless,” since those residents are not a priority for deportation anyway, at least under President Biden.

“DACA was only meant to be a temporary solution, so in some ways it took the pressure off a real solution, which is the path to citizenship,” Rodriguez said.

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