On Friday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen – a judge who was widely expected to rule against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, known as DACA – ruled in favor of it…sort of.
Hanen, a member of the Federal District Court in Houston, ruled that immigrants have relied on the DACA program, and that it should not be immediately halted, as plaintiffs, including the State of Texas, advocated.
Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the University of Houston Law Center’s Immigration Clinic says Hanen’s ruling is surprising because he has ruled previously that the DACA program, which also benefited parents of DACA recipients, should be ended.
“Now we have a challenge to the original 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and the judge denied a preliminary injunction, and so ruled, basically, in favor of the DACA program,” Hoffman says.
In his ruling, Hanen said that DACA is likely a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. In other words, he thinks DACA is probably illegal.
“The judge did a very good job in deciding that the balance of the equities would be against granting preliminary injunction because of the extreme harm that would befall the DACA recipients,” Hoffman says.
Hoffman says the judge also noted the delay between the creation of DACA in 2012 and the plaintiffs’ suit to end it.
“It’s been about six years since DACA 2012, and so, that delay works against the equities in granting a preliminary injunction,” Hoffman says.
Hoffman says Hanen advocated in his ruling for a legislative solution to the problem of DACA. Meanwhile, appeals of lower-court decisions in DACA cases will continue moving through the courts.
“Obviously, this decision was something that was consistent with other district judges that allowed the DACA program to continue across the country,” Hoffman says.
Eventually all of the cases will end up at the Supreme Court.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.