By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Saturday vowed to preserve a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation, vowing to appeal a judge’s “deeply disappointing” ruling that invalidates it and urges Congress to provide them. a path to citizenship.
Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled Friday in favor of a Republican-led group of Texas-led states that filed a lawsuit to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Hanen concluded that former Democratic President Barack Obama exceeded his powers when he created DACA in 2012 by executive action, bypassing Congress.
People protected by DACA are often called “dreamers,” after the name of a proposed immigration reform that was not approved by Congress.
Biden said in a statement https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/07/17/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-daca-and-legislation-for-dreamers that the Justice Department will appeal Hanen’s ruling. The Democratic president also said that the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration matters, will soon issue a new regulation aimed at strengthening the legal position of DACA.
Hanen, a Texas-based judge appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, found that DACA https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-judge-blocks-new-applications-daca-program- dreamer- immigrants-2021-07-16 violated a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Law when it was created. Hanen said that because a large number of people are enrolled in the program, nearly 650,000, his decision would be temporarily suspended, but new DACA applications would be suspended.
“Yesterday’s federal court ruling is deeply disappointing,” Biden said. “While the court order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.”
“But only Congress can secure a permanent solution by providing a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve,” added Biden, who was vice president when Obama created DACA.
The road to congressional action is complicated. Democrats control the Senate and House of Representatives by narrow margins. The 100-seat Senate, which under a rule called filibuster requires 60 votes to advance most legislation, is split 50-50, with Democrats in charge only because Vice President Kamala Harris exercises a tiebreaker vote.
Democrats are expected to include a path to citizenship for Dreamers in a $ 3.5 billion spending package that could be passed in the Senate by simple majority under a procedure called reconciliation.
“I am fervently hopeful that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally bring safety to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear,” added Biden.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Hanen’s ruling would not derail the Biden administration’s efforts to protect Dreamers from deportation. “DHS remains focused on safeguarding DACA,” Mayorkas said in a statement, adding that his department will continue to process DACA renewal applications “in accordance with the ruling.”
Obama created DACA to protect young immigrants who had lived in the United States illegally after being brought into the country as children. He acted after the bipartisan immigration legislation called the DREAM Act was not passed by Congress.
DACA protects beneficiaries from deportation, grants them work authorization and access to driver’s licenses and, in some cases, better access to financial aid for education. It does not provide a path to citizenship. People protected by DACA are primarily young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Former Republican President Donald Trump, who took a hard line on immigration, tried to rescind DACA in 2017, but last year the US Supreme Court blocked his measure https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa -court-immigration / us-supreme-court-frustra-trump-plan-to-end-dreamers-immigrant-program-idUSKBN23P2HM as illegally “arbitrary and capricious”.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans an early test for the reconciliation approach on Wednesday, trying to rally united Democratic support.
“We cannot let the future of #DACA recipients hang in the balance. The time to act is now. This Senate will work to provide a path to citizenship for our Dreamers,” Schumer wrote on Twitter Friday.
Some liberal lawmakers and activists have called for the removal of filibuster, which Senate Republicans have used to block Democratic priorities.
Republican opponents of DACA praised the judge’s ruling.
Andy Biggs, a conservative congressman and Trump ally from the border state of Arizona, described Hanen’s ruling on Twitter as a “great victory.”