Tuesday , August 3 2021

Biden says US to appeal Dreamers ruling, Congress must act


President Joe Biden said the US will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the DACA program protecting hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” who came to the US as children was implemented unconstitutionally, and he renewed his call for Congress to agree on a permanent solution.
“Yesterday’s Federal court ruling is deeply disappointing,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday. “The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA.”
US District Judge Andrew Hanen of Houston issued his ruling in a suit brought by Republican-led states over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was implemented by the Obama administration on behalf of almost 650,000 Dreamers fighting to stay in the country.
“Although Congress may someday enact such a Dream Act, until it does, its continued failure to pass bills coextensive with the DACA population evinces a rejection of this policy,” Hanen said in a 77-page decision, which noted widespread sympathy for Dreamers.
“As much as this court might agree with these sentiments, and as popular as this program might be, the proper origination point for DACA was, and is, Congress.”
The ruling comes amid a continuing humanitarian crisis: Since the start of the year, US authorities have apprehended or denied entry to more than 200,000 Central American at the southern US border, expelling many of them to Mexico.
Hanen said it would be too disruptive to the lives of Dreamers in the existing program to end it immediately. He ordered the US Department of Homeland Security to continue renewing permits for current enrollees and to not reject any renewals because of his order, while he gives Congress and the administration time to figure out how to cure the legal defects that undermined the program.
Biden said the ruling underscores the urgency that Congress, though the process known as reconciliation or other means, pass a law to “finally provide security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear.”
One of Biden’s first actions as president was an executive order for DHS to “preserve and fortify” DACA, and the agency says it will undergo the formal rule-making process Texas claims Obama illegally skipped. The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to give all DACA recipients lawful permanent residency, and a bipartisan companion bill that protects Dreamers is under consideration in the Senate.
While none of the youngsters is at immediate risk of either deportation or losing work authorisation, the judge effectively said rescuing Dreamers is a job for Congress and the Biden administration, which have failed so far to reach agreement on what to do with them. The legal challenge moves next to the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which now includes six judges appointed by former president Donald Trump.
Hanen’s decision ultimately sets the case back on track to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in June 2020 that Trump couldn’t arbitrarily end DACA without following federal rule-making procedures and providing a good explanation. The Texas challenge asked the same legal question in reverse, whether former president Barack Obama violated federal procedures when he implemented DACA without congressional approval in 2012.
The ruling was no surprise, given Hanen’s previous conclusion in a related case that DACA appeared unconstitutional but that ending it would be like trying to unscramble an egg.
Hanen ruled Obama skipped the same required rule-making steps as Trump. But the judge indicated DACA might yet be saved if the Biden administration gave the public time to comment on a new version of DACA before a reconstituted program is put into place.

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