Federal Judge Declares DACA Unlawful, Leaving Dreamers in Limbo

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In a recent legal development that has significant implications for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful once again. DACA, established in 2012 by the Obama administration, has been a lifeline for many young individuals who were brought to the United States as children, shielding them from deportation and providing work permits. However, Judge Hanen’s latest ruling has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the program’s future.

The Legal Battle:

This latest ruling by Judge Hanen was not his first encounter with DACA. He had previously declared the program illegal in 2021, citing procedural issues and the lack of a formal agency rulemaking process. Despite this, DACA was allowed to continue for existing beneficiaries. This time, Hanen’s ruling maintains the program for current recipients but prohibits new applicants from applying.

The Controversy:

The legal controversy surrounding DACA revolves around whether the executive branch has the authority to create and maintain such a program without congressional approval. Seven Republican-leaning states, including Texas, have been suing to end DACA, arguing that the updated version was implemented unlawfully and constituted an overreach of executive authority.

Financial Concerns:

One key argument made by the states opposing DACA is that they continue to incur financial losses due to the presence of immigrants who were permitted to stay in the country without legal authorization. These states claim that they face significant costs related to healthcare, education, and other services for these individuals.

Biden Administration’s Response:

The Biden administration expressed deep disappointment with Judge Hanen’s ruling, stating that they disagreed with his conclusion that DACA is unlawful. The administration has long maintained its support for DACA and its beneficiaries. They emphasized the critical role that DACA has played in allowing hundreds of thousands of individuals to live and work lawfully in the United States, free from the fear of deportation.

The Road Ahead:

While this ruling is a setback for DACA, it is far from the end of the road. The Biden administration is expected to appeal the decision, and legal experts anticipate that the case will ultimately make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The fate of DACA and the “Dreamers” remains uncertain, with the legal battle likely to continue for some time.


The ongoing legal challenges surrounding DACA underscore the need for a comprehensive and permanent solution for the “Dreamers.” For years, Congress has struggled to pass legislation such as the DREAM Act that would provide long-term protections and a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. As the legal battles continue, the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants hangs in the balance, leaving them in a state of limbo as they wait for a resolution to their uncertain future in the United States.

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