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

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This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

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The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Things That Matter

The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Texas is seeing an unprecedented weather crisis as much of the state is plunged into bitterly cold conditions. But that hasn’t stopped many migrants and refugees from attempting to cross into the U.S. for protection.

Many migrants cross the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo en Mexico) between Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Crossing the Rio Grande is always a dangerous undertaking but now, thanks to the freezing weather, it’s an especially perilous journey and it’s claimed the life of another child.

An 8-year-old boy has drowned while crossing the river with his family.

Authorities have reported that an 8-year-old Honduran boy has become the latest victim in a string of drownings at the Rio Grande, between the the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the unprecedented weather, migrants continue to attempt to cross the dangerous river to reach the U.S.

The child was with his family attempting to cross the river when he drowned on Wednesday, just as Texas was gripped by Arctic conditions which have killed more than 30 people and left millions in Mexico and Texas without power, water and food. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the U.S., but were returned to Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol.

According to Mexican immigration officials, the boy “couldn’t withstand the pounding water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters”. His body was recovered but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Rio Grande is notoriously dangerous for people attempting to cross the border.

The journey across the Rio Grande has always been a perilous one, with hundreds of people, many of whom could not swim, having drowned over the years after being caught by the deceptively deep waters and strong current.

Add in the current winter storm currently blanketing the entire state of Texas, has produced significant snow and prolonged freezing temperatures, has made the crossing even more dangerous.

In fact, earlier in the week, the river had claimed another victim. A woman from Venezuela died trying to cross the river in the same area after getting trapped in below-freezing currents. Three others suffered hypothermia: one was treated by the Red Cross in Mexico, while the other two made it the US border.

Drownings are just one of the dangers migrants face.

Apart from the potential for drownings, migrants face a wide range of dangerous while attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. In late January, 19 bodies were found shot and burned in a vehicle near the town of Camargo, also across the border from Texas.

There’s also the threat of violence from drug cartels and smugglers, corrupt officials, and other extreme elements, such as heat during the summer.

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