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September 4, 2018  

DACA Temporarily Saved by Federal District Judge

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities applauds last Friday’s decision by Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas denying the state's request to invalidate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ruling the state had waited too long to file the suit and ending the program now could harm the public, especially the 700,000 people who currently rely on DACA for legal protection against deportation. But Hanen also said that he thought DACA was "contrary to the Administrative Procedure Act" and thus vulnerable under appeal, giving the plaintiffs 21 days to petition.

The backdrop of this ruling is the more stringent “zero tolerance” federal policy that breaks up undocumented families seeking asylum or just a better life. Young children, even infants separated from their mothers, are kept in detention centers, often thousands of miles away from their families and for months at a time. The Administration had no clear procedure for reuniting these families and even after having been ordered by courts to reunify families apparently continues to house some children in federal custody. In addition, immigration officials are raiding homes, workplaces, and hospitals to arrest immigrants, sometimes without court orders. And more recently there have been reports of passports of individuals born in border states being taken away and their citizenship questioned. This unprecedented harassment of immigrants and Hispanic citizens by the federal government is heightened in some states like Texas, lead plaintiff in the case before Judge Hanen.   

Hanen’s is the fourth federal order to delay the end of DACA since the Trump administration first rescinded it last September. “These court actions, including Judge Hanen’s most recent decision, underline the need for Congress to act swiftly and responsibly on comprehensive immigration reform, particularly the DREAM Act that HACU and numerous other national organization have been advocating for nearly 18 years,” said Antonio Flores, HACU President & CEO.