DACA Faces Another Legal Challenge In Texas, Potentially Impacting President-elect Biden’s DACA Plans

Posted on 12/22/20

A Texas Federal court will once again consider a court challenge on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. The program, which has been in a legal frenzy ever since its announcement, has shielded nearly 650,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The Texas court challenge comes amid a New York federal Judge’s decision to reinstate the DACA program to its original intentions early this month. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufus ordered the Trump administration to reverse course on its nearly three years of restrictive policies aimed at diminishing the program. Judge Garaufus ordered the Department of Homeland Security to immediately announce the acceptance of new applications, paving the way for several hundred thousand DACA applications to be reviewed by DHS.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the fight against President Obama’s original DACA memorandum. Rather than trying to end the program outright, Texas and eight other states are trying to upend the program, arguing that the program violates federal law, thus impacting educational and healthcare resources at the state level. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is arguing that the Texas court challenge offers baseless arguments, and is requesting a summary judgment in their favor. “This case is an attack on the underlying legality of DACA itself,” Nina Perales, a lawyer from the defense team stated. “This case seeks a ruling that DACA is unlawful that would bind any future administration.” Ms. Perales was specifically referencing President Elect-Biden who has pledged to reinstate the program to its original intentions, while potentially expanding the program. If the ruling ends up being in favor of the Texas AG and several other states, the Biden Administration will have to halt their efforts and pursue further legal efforts. Although the Federal court challenge in Texas wouldn’t immediately affect DACA recipients, it may halt the program from accepting any new applications.

United States District Judge Andrew Hanen is expected to hear the Case on December 22nd but is expected to take his time in deliberating the matters. Hanen refused to issue an injunction in the same case two years ago when Texas sought to question the program’s legality. Although Hanen refused the Texas injunction, he did question the program’s legality. Judge Hanen also subverted the Obama administration’s efforts to expand the eligibility of the DACA program to immigrant minors Parents.

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Source: https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-donald-trump-houston-immigration-courts