Nine Republican-led states asked a federal judge in Texas on Tuesday to block a rule providing protections to nearly 600,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, a group often described as “Dreamers.”
It’s the latest move in an ongoing legal fight over the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and poses yet another threat to the hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries who have been able to live and work in the United States legally.
The Biden administration released a rule last year to “preserve and fortify” the DACA program, largely maintaining the criteria for the program. The regulation was released while litigation over previous memos concerning the program was ongoing.
A few months later, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals largely upheld a district court ruling finding that DACA is unlawful but sent the case back to the lower court to decide the legality of the new rule fortifying the program.
On Tuesday, the Republican-led states called the rule “unlawful” and asked for it to be blocked.
“The Final Rule—as the latest manifestation of the DACA program—is substantively unlawful for the same reasons as the DACA Memorandum. The Court should declare it unlawful and unconstitutional, vacate it in its entirety, and permanently enjoin its implementation (with a prudent transition for existing DACA recipients),” the filing states.
The case sits before Judge Andrew Hanen, of the Southern District of Texas, who ruled in July 2021 that DACA was unlawful and blocked the government from approving new applications for the program. Hanen’s order, however, allowed the program to continue for current enrollees while the case is litigated. That continues to be the case today.
Immigrant advocates and administration officials maintain that the onus is on Congress to provide protections to DACA recipients.
Democrats and Republicans have been sympathetic to the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, many of whom were under the age of 10. But the give-and-take between Democrats and Republicans over “Dreamers” has made it difficult to achieve a bipartisan compromise.