DACA Unconstitutional, Says Texas Court
In a groundbreaking decision, a federal court in the Southern District of Texas in Houston declared a new iteration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - DACA unconstitutional. The policy has protected numerous young immigrants, commonly known as Dreamers, from deportation.
Judge Hanen's Rationale: Congress Must Act
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen sided with Texas and eight other states that sued to end DACA. Hanen suggested that legislative action was the proper remedy. “The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches," the judge stated in his 40-page ruling.
Local Impact: Dreamers in Houston Face Uncertainty
While the judge's ruling halts new applications, it leaves existing DACA recipients in a state of uncertainty. Hanen emphasized that the order doesn't require the federal government to take any immediate actions regarding current DACA participants.
Financial Toll: Why States Pressed the Lawsuit
The plaintiff states, including Texas, argued the policy imposed significant financial burdens on them. They claim expenses in the hundreds of millions of dollars are incurred when undocumented immigrants are allowed to remain.
Long Road Ahead: What's Next for Dreamers?
The future of DACA and Dreamers hangs in the balance. Many in Houston and across the nation watch closely as the case likely moves to the U.S. Supreme Court for the third time. In the interim, the Biden administration continues to process renewals for current recipients.
Both critics and proponents of DACA issued statements following the court's ruling. Local representatives, legal experts, and advocacy groups are actively weighing in on the decision's impact on Houston's immigrant community.
Thomas A. Saenz, President of MALDEF, said, "... this lengthy lawsuit, and the precarious state of uncertainty in which it places DACA recipients, is largely the result of Congress indolently refusing to enact legislation."
The White House also expressed disappointment. "We disagree with the District Court’s conclusion that DACA is unlawful," said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
With Congress's previous attempts to provide permanent protections through the DREAM Act failing, the spotlight turns to the U.S. Supreme Court. Only time will tell if the high court or Congress can provide a lasting solution for Dreamers, many of whom call Houston home.