A federal judge granted an order to stay the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) proceedings currently underway in which seven states, led by Texas, sued to challenge the legality of the DACA program in May 2018.
The lawsuit filed by the group of states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, marked the second attempt by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to end the program since September 2017.
The motion granted by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen on Friday ruled in favor of the defendants, halting proceedings until the Supreme Court issues an opinion on the Trump administration’s attempt to end the program.
In 2018, Paxton opted to file the case in the Brownsville division of the Southern District of Texas, where the case was handed from Judge Rolando Olvera to the now Houston-based Judge Hanen over the course of an afternoon.
In 2015, Hanen blocked the Obama-administration’s 2014 executive actions on immigration reform, which included DACA and a new program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).
The following year, Hanen made headlines when he ordered the federal government to turn over the names, contact information, and addresses of over 100,000 undocumented DACA recipients in the 26 states who sued over the DACA expansion in a rebuke to DOJ attorneys who litigated the case.
The DACA program granted a number of undocumented residents who arrived in the United States as children, estimated at over 800,000 recipients, the ability to access higher education, work permits, identification, and safety from deportation proceedings.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated 109,000 DACA recipients live in Texas, while an estimated 192,000 Texas residents are eligible for the program. If the program were to be rescinded, this population would be ineligible to participate in the workforce.
The motion, filed by New Jersey (which is defending the program) sought to halt proceedings until the Supreme Court issues its opinions on the current attempt by the Trump administration to rescind the program. Oral arguments were heard in the case on Nov. 12.
Hanen granted the motion to stay on Friday, writing that “a concern for prompt action never overrides the primary goal of correctly deciding a case.”
The document cited arguments from Texas and other listed plaintiffs that the case being opined by the Supreme Court justices is not focused on the legality of DACA, but rather centers on the legality of rescinding the program.
Meanwhile, those eligible for DACA are able to continue applying and re-applying, although the future of the program remains in question.
In a post detailing the dates of the pending litigation, The National Immigration Law Center urged applicants to consult with an attorney or the Board of Immigration Appeals representative regarding whether to renew applications.
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Updated: Wed, Dec 11th 2019 @ 2:15pm EST