UPDATE: Gabe Ortiz
Hanen has unsurprisingly extended his injunction to include the new Biden administration rule. Legal advocates note that renewals can continue, while first-time applications remain blocked.
The popular and successful Obama-era program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who’ve grown up in the U.S. is yet again back in court.
Last week, a conservative appeals court in Louisiana upheld a Texas judge’s 2021 ruling against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then sent the case back to Texas Judge Andrew Hanen in order to consider a Biden administration rule intended to “preserve and fortify” the decade-old program amid GOP-led lawsuits. Hanen on Oct. 7 set a conference for one week’s time, happening today.
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“Hanen will likely ask lawyers for more information on the new DACA regulation, according to Nina Perales, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund who will be representing DACA recipients at Friday’s hearing,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Perales said it would be “a safe bet” Hanen “is going to call for more filings and more legal arguments because he now has to take up the question of the legality of the Biden administration regulation.”
But we also know there’s a reason why corrupt Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ran to him faster than running from a process server. Hanen has a distinct record as an anti-immigrant zealot, with decisions “described as bizarre and unreasonably harmful to immigrants,” America’s Voice said in 2020.
Notably, Hanen and Paxton teamed up to kill 2014 executive action from the Obama administration that would have protected the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, as well as expanded the DACA program. “The administration had little choice but to appeal Hanen’s order to the 5th circuit appeals court which oversees Texas and which is considered by many to be the most conservative court in the land,” America’s Voice said in 2016. “To no one’s surprise, the appeals court affirmed Hanen’s ruling.”
In a ruling against the DACA program last year, Hanen halted all first-time applications but allowed renewals to continue. The new regulation finalized by the Biden administration this past summer is set to go into effect at the end of this month. “Several advocacy groups planned to attend the hearing and gather outside the federal courthouse on Friday,” the AP said.
In a statement received by Daily Kos, a coalition representing more than 100 organizations across the nation said immigrant youth and allies would be outside the courthouse to “make clear the consequences of another shameful and evil decision from Judge Hanen.”
”This is a pivotal moment for our movement and for all of us who believe in the dignity and humanity of all immigrants,” the Home Is Here coalition said in the statement. “Now is not the time for apathy, the lives of immigrant young people and millions of American families depend on all of us taking action. We expect the Biden administration to vigorously and unapologetically fight to protect the program, while demanding Congress move forward a permanent solution now.”
The program’s beneficiaries, their families, and communities have endured years of exhausting, agonizing legal battles that have gone all the way to the Supreme Court. But that 2020 decision in their favor was not the final word, with Paxton again tapping into the anti-immigrant judicial pipeline to get another ruling to kill the policy. “We can't rely on the courts,” DACA recipient Maria Praeli said in a new ad urging federal lawmakers to end this uncertainty and pass relief. “Congress: This is it. Protect Dreamers, act now.”
The AP reported that “even if Hanen were to issue a positive ruling on the new DACA regulation, the judge might still decide the program is illegal because it was not created by Congress, Perales said. ‘Which is why so many right now are calling on Congress to act,’ she said.”
15 immigrants and allies arrested in protest urging Congress to act following ruling against DACA