Federal Judge Strikes Down Obama's DACA Program, But There's a Catch

Federal Judge Strikes Down Obama's DACA Program, But There's a Catch
By: Townhall Posted On: September 13, 2023 View: 9

Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was expansive. It was a cornerstone immigration initiative for his administration. It was also illegal. Created by executive order, the DACA program was a gross violation of separation of powers. The White House was re-writing immigration law unilaterally, an ongoing criticism of the order that spurred this legal battle. Now, a federal judge has ruled the program is unconstitutional but didn’t order that the program be scrapped immediately (via NYT):


A federal judge in Texas again ruled unlawful on Wednesday a program that has shielded hundreds of thousands of undocumented young adults from deportation and allowed them to legally work in the United States, rejecting a new rule that the Biden administration had introduced to address the court’s concerns. 

The judge, Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Houston, maintained that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, by executive action in 2012. 

The decision is the latest twist in a five-year-long court saga that has left the program and its beneficiaries, known as Dreamers, hanging in the balance. While the ruling is a blow to the immigrants, the judge did not mandate an immediate end to the program. Current applicants will be able to keep and renew their protection. No new applications will be allowed. 

“There are no material differences between the two programs,” the judge wrote in his 40-page opinion, adding that his decision did not compel the government to “take any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient.” 



It’s frustrating, though not unexpected. The program has been active for years. If there’s a rollback, it will be done gradually. And there will be appeals. For now, current applicants are safe. Protections for new applicants will not be afforded. It’s détente for now, which will not satisfy the program's detractors. 


It's illegal but can still remain–that's essentially the takeaway. 

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