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Federal Judge Says DACA Program Is Unlawful, But Doesn’t Order Shutdown

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by then-President Barack Obama in 2012 was illegal, but stopped short of halting the program.

United States District Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas declared that the Biden administration’s attempt to codify the program into federal regulation was unlawful following a suit by nine states led by Texas, according to court documents. Hanen previously barred new applications for the program in a 2021 ruling.

President Barack Obama started the program in 2012, but then-President Donald Trump sought to roll back the program after taking office in 2017. Texas and other states first sued to end the program in 2018.

The Supreme Court struck down Trump’s effort to end DACA in 2020, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor in a 5-4 ruling that said Trump violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

Roughly 832,000 people are covered under the program, according to the American Immigration Council.

Over 1.6 million illegal immigrants have been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border during fiscal year 2023, according to data released by United States Customs and Border Protection, following 2.2 million encounters in fiscal year 2022 and 1.6 million in fiscal year 2021, while Fox News reported another 600,000 migrants evaded CBP in fiscal year 2022.

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