DACA Headed To Court, Again

Texas is leading a challenge against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that lets recipients remain in the country legally.

By Jill Ament & Michael MarksDecember 22, 2020 1:25 pm, , ,

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, is under threat again by a legal challenge.

In September of 2017, the Trump administration tried to end DACA, which provides deportation relief for people who, as children, came to the United States as undocumented immigrants. But in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the administration did so illegally, and the program remained in place.

This new challenge is different, though. Attorneys general from nine states – led by Ken Paxton of Texas – have asked a federal judge to repeal DACA because they argue it has inflicted irreparable harm upon them.

“They’re basically saying that the states are going to have to pay extra expenses for providing law enforcement, health care and other services to these folks that under any other circumstance wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the country,” said Julián Aguilar, immigration and border security reporter for The Texas Tribune.

Aguilar told the Texas Standard that the judge in this case, Andrew Hanen, has a track record of being critical toward executive orders such as DACA. One of his rulings ended a similar executive order, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, or DAPA.

Lawyers for the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, or MALDEF, are representing 22 DACA recipients in defense of the policy. They’ll likely argue that DACA has not caused irreparable harm to the states, and that rescinding it could have a catastrophic impact on its recipients.

If DACA is rescinded, the people who rely on it to remain the country legally could face deportation. Over 600,000 people are DACA recipients.

There is no concrete timeline for when Judge Hanen will rule in the case.

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