Things That Matter

Federal Judge Lets DACA Program Live Citing Harm If Program Is Canceled

A federal judge in Texas preserved the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program immediately claiming it would cause too much harm. However, District Judge Andrew Hanen also said that the six-year-old program is likely unlawful because it oversteps the authority of the executive branch. Hanen’s ruling gives the almost 700,000 DACA recipients additional time to request renewals, which would keep them in the United States legally for an additional two years. The DACA program protects recipients from deportation and grants them work permits in two-year stints.

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will stand in place for now.

The ruling comes as a surprise since District Judge Andrew Hanen had ruled against DACA-related programs in the past. In 2015, Hanen ruled a companion program that would have granted temporary legal status to DACA parents, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), was illegal. This time around Hanen questioned the legality of DACA but argued that more harm would be done to DACA recipients if they lost the program.

This may only be a temporary reprieve for DACA recipients.

Judge Hanen said that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their case that DACA is unlawful because it oversteps the authority of the executive branch. He said that DACA is a program that “Congress should consider saving” if it ever wants to permanently stay.

“Here, the egg has been scrambled. To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country,” Hanen wrote in his ruling.

Many immigrants’ rights advocates are celebrating the order as it will help many DACA recipients.

“Today DACA beneficiaries like myself and my little sister breathe a sigh of relief,” said Greisa Martinez, the deputy executive director of United We Dream told NPR NEWS. “But we aren’t out of the woods yet.”

The road still isn’t easy for DACA recipients who’ve faced constant lawsuits and federal orders against the program within the last year. The Trump administration has lead these efforts by seeking to end DACA, but have been blocked by federal courts in California, New York and Washington, D.C. Only existing DACA recipients can renew their status while those cases remain unresolved, but new applicants can’t join the program as of now.

The ruling coincidentally landed near the one year anniversary of President Trump’s order to end to the Obama-era program.

There are almost 700,000 DACA recipients in the United States since the Obama-era program began back in 2012. On September 5, 2017, President Trump ordered an end to the program urging Congress to pass a replacement and gave the program a six month deadline before he would begin phasing out protections. Federal judges blocked the administration from ending DACA before the six-month deadline. Instead, the courts ordered the administration to continue renewing any existing two-year permits.

“The past year has taken a wild ride on the DACA story,” Josh Blackman, a law professor at the South Texas College of Law Houston told CNN. “Everyone agrees that Congress should do this, there is no reason we should still be fighting about this in the courts.”


READ: The US Government Is Questioning The Citizenship Of Some Latinos Along The Texas/Mexico Border

Recommend this story to a friend by clicking on the share button below.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

Things That Matter

Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

COVID-19 is spiking across the U.S. with 32 states watching as new cases of the virus continue to climb day after day. California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida are among states that have set daily new infection records. With this backdrop, a federal judge has ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must release children, with their parents, by July 17.

A judge ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release children in detention by a certain date.

U.S. Judge Dolly Gee ordered ICE to act quickly in response to the rampant COVID-19 spread in detention centers to protect the health of migrants. Judge Gee is giving ICE until July 17 to comply and release all children that have been in the agency’s custody.

U.S. Judge Gee ruled that the threat of the pandemic is great where the children are being held.

“Given the severity of the outbreak in the counties in which FRCs are located and the Independent Monitor and Dr. Wise’s observations of non-compliance or spotty compliance with masking and social distancing rules, renewed and more vigorous efforts must be undertaken to transfer (children) residing at the FRCs to non-congregate settings,” Judge Gee wrote in her order.

Concerned politicians and public figures are celebrating the judge’s order.

The order is aimed specifically at the Family Residential Centers (FRCs) and Office of Refugee Resettlement camps across the country. The virus has been running rampant in detention centers and prisons and, according to the judge, unsurprisingly the virus has made it to the FRCs.

She continued: “The FRCs are ‘on fire’ and there is no more time for half measures.”

National leaders are calling on ICE to follow the ruling by a federal judge.

The judge’s order is aimed at the three FRCs in the U.S. Two are in Texas and one is in Pennsylvania. Unaccompanied minors in various shelters are also included in the order.

“Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that [COVID-19] has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along,” Judge Gee wrote.

This story is developing and we will update as new information arises.

READ: After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

Things That Matter

Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Update July 28, 2020: The Trump administration is intentionally limiting DACA recipients from renewing properly and blocking new applications. On June 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration couldn’t end Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals the way it did but still could with a different tactic.

DACA recipients are facing another challenge created by the Trump administration.

After losing the battle at the Supreme Court, the Trump administration decided to create more blocks to hinder DACA recipients. The administration announced that DACA recipients will only be allowed to renew for one year instead of two. This is because according to the administration there is still a legal way to stop DACA. The administration is reviewing the SCOTUS decision to figure out the way to put an end to the program it has deemed to be illegal.

Recently, the Trump administration tried to put the program on hold but lost a legal battle in Maryland about that. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration could not pause DACA and had to allow the program as it was originally intended. After that loss, the Trump administration announced a change that supersedes all orders and places DACA recipients back on the chopping block.

This quiet announcement comes after President Trump claimed to be working on an order that includes a pathway to citizenship.

“I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president and I’m going to make DACA a part of it,” Trump told José Díaz-Balart. “But, we put it in, and we’ll probably going to then be taking it out. We’re working out the legal complexities right now, but I’m going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order, which Supreme Court now, because of the DACA decision, has given me the power to do that.”

Original: For three years, people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status faced an uncertain future. The Trump administration was involved in legal battles after abruptly eliminating the program. For the third time this week, the Supreme Court has handed down a major loss for the Trump administration as they protected DACA from Trump’s attack.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot end DACA.

The 5-4 decision is the third major legal loss for the Trump administration this week. SCOTUS ruled earlier this week that LGBTQ+ cannot be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court also refused to take up a case challenging California’s sanctuary state law letting the law stand.

The decision to temporarily protect DACA was a split decision with all of the conservative justices (Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) voting in favor of the Trump administration. Justice John Robert joined the liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan saving the program from the Trump administration, for now.

In the ruling, written by Justice John Roberts, the court cites that the acting secretary of state violated the Administrative Procedures Act when ending the program. Basically, the announcement was lacking substance and did not address key parts of the policy. This made the announcement void of an argument supporting the dismantling of the program.

The ruling is only temporary relief for the hundreds of thousands of young people on DACA.

While the program has been spared, it is not completely saved. The decision from the Supreme Court today focuses on the way DACA was eliminated, not the actual elimination. This means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now has time to reevaluate its case against DACA to try again.

“The Court still does not resolve the question of DACA’s rescission,” Alito wrote in his dissent. “Instead, it tells the Department of Homeland Security to go back and try again.”

The conservative justices, while dissenting, did release statements that agreed with parts of the decision to block the Trump administration from eliminating DACA. The Trump administration first announced that they were ending DACA in 2017 with a press conference on the border led by Jeff Sessions.

Justice Sotomayor made her own headlines after calling the case a racist attack.

“I would not so readily dismiss the allegation that an executive decision disproportionately harms the same racial group that the President branded as less desirable mere months earlier,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in her concurrence of the decision.

Organizers and activists are giving credit to the DACA community for this victory.

The DACA community has led the charge to protect their status in the U.S. The movement has largely been done thanks to the work of DACA recipients fighting for their right to be here. For many, it is the only country they know after arriving to the U.S. without proper documentation when they were young children.

The president has tweeted his clear displeasure on the Supreme Court that he tried to stack in his favor by appointing two justices.

Both justice Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were Trump’s appointees. After three losses from the Supreme Court, President Trump followed his usual playbook and accused the Supreme Court of not liking him.

Now, it is time for Congress to act.

With DACA recipients temporarily spared sudden deportation, Congress must act and pass legislation protecting Dreamers from being deported. The Dream Act is one piece of legislation that offers DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship, something most Americans agree with.

READ: ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com