Judge blocks new applications to DACA program

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FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2019, file photo people rally outside the Supreme Court as oral arguments are heard in the case of President Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), at the Supreme Court in Washington. The Trump administration must accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects some young immigrants from deportation, a federal judge ruled Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 in vacating a memo from the acting Homeland Security secretary that had suspended it. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

NEW YORK (Reuters) — A U.S. federal judge in Texas on Friday blocked new applications to a program that protects immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation but said the hundreds of thousands of people already enrolled would not be affected until further court rulings.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sided with a group of states suing to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, arguing it was illegally created by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

Hanen found the program violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it was created but said that since there were so many people currently enrolled in the program – nearly 650,000 – his ruling would be temporarily stayed for their cases until further court rulings in the case.

“To be clear,” the judge said, the order does not require the government to take “any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient.” Democratic President Joe Biden, who was vice president when Obama created the program, has said he wants to create a permanent pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, known as “Dreamers.”

Biden issued a memorandum on his first day in office directing the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to take “all actions he deems appropriate” to “preserve and fortify” the program, which former President Donald Trump, a Republican, tried to end.

Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021.

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