A federal judge in Texas declined to issue a preliminary injunction in a case over the future of DACA — but he says the six-year-old program is likely unlawful.
By Joel Rose
The decision is a setback for Texas and nine other states that are suing to terminate DACA. The Obama-era program protects approximately 600,000 immigrants from deportation and allows them to work legally, even though they were brought to the country illegally as children.
But the order from Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen, issued Friday afternoon, may be only a temporary reprieve for DACA recipients: Hanen held that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their argument that the program is unlawful because it oversteps the authority of the executive branch.
“If the nation truly wants a DACA program,” Hanen wrote, “it is up to Congress to say so.”
Still, Hanen declined to put even a temporary halt to DACA because he found that Texas and the other states waited too long to bring their case.
Friday’s order came as a surprise to many because Hanen previously had blocked a similar Obama-era program — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans — before it could take effect. He said the circumstances of this case are different.
“Here, the egg has been scrambled,” Hanen wrote. “To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction … and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense.”
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