Biden called a federal court ruling that halted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “deeply disappointing” on Saturday and urged Congress to pass legislation that would provide illegal immigrants who were protected from deportation under the program with a path to citizenship under the program.
“Today’s Federal court decision is extremely disappointing,” Vice President Joe Biden stated in a statement. “While the court’s ruling has no immediate impact on existing DACA beneficiaries, this judgment nonetheless condemns hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to a lifetime of uncertainty.”
Judge Andrew Hanen of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Friday ordered the Biden administration to halt all DACA applications, finding that the Obama-era program was unconstitutional.
Under the Obama administration, DACA was created in 2012, and it provides protection from deportation as well as work permits to illegal immigrants who entered the country as children. It is believed that about 700,000 people have been given refuge under the scheme, with hundreds of thousands more considered eligible for protection.
A divided court ruled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when it developed the policy, according to Hanen’s decision. DHS was ordered to cease admitting DACA applications after finding that the program had been administered illegally. However, he said that the department may continue to accept DACA applications. The decision has no impact on the status of any existing DACA participants.
He determined that federal legislation had been interpreted “overbroadly” by the agency and that those provisions did not confer power on the federal government to implement the program.
According to Hanen, “DACA would provide legal presence and work permits to more than a million individuals for whom Congress had made no provision and had repeatedly refused to create such a provision.”
In a statement released on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that the Justice Department plans to appeal and that the Department of Homeland Security would publish a proposed regulation governing the program.
The lawsuit was filed by a coalition of states, headed by Texas, who claimed that the policy was in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and the Constitution. Despite the fact that the program has been the subject of a nine-year legal fight, this is the first time a judge has ruled that the program is unlawful.
Republicans have argued that the program is unconstitutional on many occasions, and President Donald Trump has tried to have the program terminated. The Supreme Court struck down that attempt, finding that it had been carried out in an “arbitrary and capricious” way, but did not rule on the program as a whole.
Democrats and the Biden administration, as well as some Republicans, have advocated for DACA participants, whom activists and Democrats have dubbed “dreamers,” to be granted a route to citizenship. Many of those initiatives seek to broaden the definition of DACA beneficiaries to include not just individuals who have received DACA benefits, but also those who are DACA-eligible.
President Biden issued a letter shortly after taking office to safeguard DACA, directing the Department of Homeland Security to take “all necessary measures under the law” to preserve the program and urging Congress to provide participants with a route to citizenship.
A number of initiatives to provide legal status to DACA participants have already been introduced in Congress this year, including the DACA Extension Act. According to a recent statement by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, the Democratic budget plan contains a route to citizenship for a variety of illegal immigrant groups, including DACA beneficiaries. Because of the reconciliation process, it is possible that Democrats will be able to approve such a plan without the backing of Republicans.
On Saturday, Biden reiterated his call for a permanent solution, stating that “only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people require and deserve.” Biden also urged lawmakers to “pass legislation that will ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers.”
His remarks were in reference to legislation that would provide DACA recipients with a path to citizenship. “I have repeatedly called on Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and I now renew that call with the greatest urgency,” he said, referring to legislation that would provide a citizenship path to DACA recipients. My ardent hope is that, via reconciliation or other methods, Congress can finally give stability to all Dreamers, who have suffered far too long under the shadow of insecurity.”