A Legal Blow to DACA: Judge Hanen’s Ruling
A federal court in Houston, presided over by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, deemed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unconstitutional. The case has significant legal repercussions for immigration policy and administrative law, with Judge Hanen siding with Texas and eight other states in the lawsuit.
The Legal Argument: Separation of Powers
Hanen argued that the policy oversteps the bounds of executive authority and that the solution should come from Congress. “The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches,” Hanen stated in his 40-page ruling. This places focus on the separation of powers, a cornerstone issue in administrative law.
Procedural Defects: The Administrative Procedures Act
One of the lawsuit’s key legal aspects was the claim that DACA didn’t go through the mandatory public notice and comment processes under the federal Administrative Procedures Act. Hanen previously ruled that these omissions rendered the program unlawful.
Standing to Sue: Financial Strain as Legal Grounds
The plaintiff states claimed significant financial burden due to DACA’s implementation. This assertion was crucial in establishing the states’ legal standing to sue, as Hanen concluded they had incurred losses.
Future Legal Battles: Supreme Court Likely Next Stop
Given the controversial nature and the nationwide implications of DACA for Dreamers, the issue is expected to find its way back to the U.S. Supreme Court. This would be the third time the high court would deliberate on the program’s legality.
Legal scholars and advocacy groups have weighed in on the ruling. “This lengthy lawsuit places DACA recipients in a precarious state, largely due to Congress refusing to enact legislation,” said Thomas A. Saenz, President and general counsel of MALDEF.
The White House, on the other hand, disputes the ruling. “We disagree with the District Court’s conclusion that DACA is unlawful,” expressed press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The ruling leaves two primary options for a permanent DACA solution: Congressional legislation or a successful Supreme Court appeal. Both routes come with their own sets of legal complexities and challenges.