US President Joe Biden this Saturday considered “deeply disappointing” the decision of a federal judge to stop the program that protects undocumented migrants who arrived in the country as children.
In a White House statement, Biden said the Justice Department will appeal the ruling by Texas Judge Andrew Hanen, adding that “only Congress can guarantee a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers.”
Instituted by former President Barack Obama in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program covers some 700,000 people known as “Dreamers.” For many, state United it is the only country they have ever known.
Those protected by DACA received temporary relief in June 2020 when the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration had not provided sufficient justification for its attempts to end the program.
By making it clear that it ruled primarily on procedural matters, the high court left open the possibility for further challenges.
In his ruling, Federal District Court Judge Hanen in Houston said Obama exceeded his authority when he instituted DACA through an executive order, which he called “illegal.” He ruled that the government must stop accepting people into the program, although it could still receive applications.
Hanen noted that his decision does not require the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Justice “to take any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant or any other person that it would not otherwise take.”
The decision also did not immediately affect the situation of people who had already been accepted into the program.
To apply for DACA protection, which also allows the right to work, applicants must have reached the state United before the age of 16.
They must also be attending school or have graduated from high school or equivalent, or have been honorably discharged from the military and have no criminal record.
In 2017, then-President Donald Trump attempted to dismantle DACA on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, prompting a lengthy court battle that ended in the Supreme Court. DACA survived and was reinstated last December.
– The turn of Congress –
Since taking office, Biden has sought to strengthen the program, as well as initiate broader immigration reform.
In a tweet Saturday, Obama echoed Biden’s call for Congress to find a permanent solution for the “Dreamers.”
“For more than nine years, DREAMers have watched the courts and politicians debate whether they will be allowed to stay in the one country that many of them have known. It is time for Congress to act and give them the protection and certainty they deserve, “he wrote on the social network.
Following Friday’s ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “Democrats call on Republicans in Congress to join us in upholding the will of the American people and the law, to ensure that Dreamers have a permanent path to citizenship ”.