President Biden promised on Saturday to appeal a court decision that effectively suspended an Obama-era program that protects younger immigrants from deportation. That decision, made in a ruling issued Friday by Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen, prevented the government from accepting new applications to the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in which more than currently are enrolled. 600,000 people.
Hanen’s decision was another setback for the Biden administration on immigration, and it has vowed to fight back. “Yesterday’s federal court ruling is deeply disappointing,” Biden said in a White House statement. “The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision to preserve and strengthen DACA.” The statement also urged congressional action. “Only Congress can ensure 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. I have repeatedly asked Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and now I renew that call with the utmost urgency. “
DACA is a program that was introduced by the Obama administration in 2012 for immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally as children. It protects them against deportation for up to two years, pending renewal. But the program itself was an interim measure by the Obama administration, after Congress had passed no meaningful immigration reform for years.
After four years of a Trump presidency that relied on hostility toward immigrants, the Biden administration promised a “more humane and fair approach. “But Biden has already failed to deliver on several initial promises, including one to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border and another to increase the limit on the number of refugees who are legally allowed into the United States. Still , has curtailed Trump’s draconian immigration enforcement, recently shutting down two ICE detention centers and the closure of a Trump pet project that attempted to link immigration to crime.
Biden reportedly appointed Vice President Kamala Harris to spearhead the administration’s efforts on immigration, but that has proven largely ineffective thus far. Harris is the daughter of two immigrants who often defended the dreamers while she was in the United States Senate. But she may never bypass the press conference in Guatemala on behalf of the administration to understand the “root causes” of migration. “To the people of this region who are thinking of making that dangerous trip to the US-Mexico border: don’t come,” Harris said. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.” The political fallout for Harris has been swift, with recent reports in the media that Harris is a very bad boss (Political) or being put in a very bad place by Biden’s team (New York Times).
Lives are at stake, immigrant advocates are quick to point out. “Today’s federal court ruling turns the lives of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants whose home is here again upside down; will harm all of our communities ”, the National Center for Immigration Law it said in a statement. “It is a stark reminder of the urgency for Congress to act quickly to pass a path to US citizenship for young immigrants and the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.”