The Biden administration filed an appeal on Friday of a district court ruling that found the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be illegal, putting thousands of people who entered the U.S. as children at risk of deportation.
The appeal was filed by the U.S. Justice Department in response to Houston federal court Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling in July that DACA was illegal and barred the Department of Homeland Security from approving any new applications.
The case will be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a conservative reputation, having upheld a previous decision from Hanen in 2015 blocking Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens.
While the ruling is appealed, the over 600,000 people actively enrolled in DACA will not lose their ability to work or protection from deportation.
the decision “relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.” DACA was set up in 2012 by former President Barack Obama through an executive order and offers protection from deportation and work permits to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children. Since the program wasn’t authorized by Congress, Hanen argued in his ruling that it was unlawful. Biden has since renewed calls for Congress to provide a path to citizenship for DACA enrollees. The program has weathered legal challenges in the past, notably from former President Donald Trump’s administration, whose attempt to end the program was blocked by the Supreme Court.
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