WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholic immigration advocates are urging Congress and President Joe Biden to speed up legislation to protect immigrants after a federal judge ruled July 16 to end a program that prevents the deportation of thousands of immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children. These groups immediately took to social media to respond to the decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was illegal.
His ruling, which plaintiffs plan to appeal, bars the government from approving any new applications to the program but leaves it open for current participants. The decision means that “tens of thousands of people who applied but had their initial cases stuck in limbo due to crisis-level processing delays…will not receive life-altering protection from deportation or stability, security, opportunity,” tweeted Lisa Parisio, Director of Advocacy for Catholic Legal Immigration Network or CLINIC.
Hanen ruled in favor of Texas and eight other states that filed suit in 2018 against DACA on the ground that former President Obama, who created the program by executive order in 2012, did not have the authority to do so because he bypassed Congress. The states that joined Texas in the lawsuit – Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia – also said the program has been a financial strain.
DACA has enabled about 700,000 qualifying young people, described as Dreamers to work, go to college, get health insurance, a driver’s license and not face deportation.
Just last year, the Supreme Court ruled against efforts by the Trump administration to end the program, saying the actions taken to rescind it had been “arbitrary and capricious.” A federal judge at the end of last year ordered the Trump administration to fully restore DACA.
In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the USCCB urged President Trump to “strongly reconsider terminating DACA” and they also urged U.S. senators to “ immediately pass legislation that provides a path to citizenship” for Dreamers, stressing that this kid of “permanent legislative protection” is long overdue.
Advocates had similar pleas right after Hanen’s ruling.
“Texas does not have the right to dictate federal immigration policy or to upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients. Congress and the President must act decisively and swiftly to enact lasting protections for Dreamers, including a pathway to citizenship, tweeted Hope Border Institute.
Similarly, the Cabrini Immigrant Services of New York tweeted, “We demand that Congress and @POTUS take immediate action to provide a pathway to citizenship. We cannot wait any longer. There are NO excuses.”
Biden pledged to protect DACA in his presidential campaign, and he has since proposed legislation that would provide immigrants with a pathway to citizenship. DACA supporters have long insisted that it’s up to Congress to pass legislation that would provide Dreamers with permanent relief.
Hanen similarly indicated that Congress needs to step in. When he rejected Texas’ request in 2018 to end DACA through a preliminary injunction, he wrote at the time: “If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so.” To access the full article click here