Biden calls court’s DACA decision ‘deeply disappointing,’ vows to appeal it

President Biden speaks in Philadelphia, Pa., on July 13
UPI Photo

President Biden on Saturday condemned a federal judge’s decision the day before to block new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, saying that the ruling was “deeply disappointing” and that the Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to appeal it. 

Judge Andrew Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, said in his ruling Friday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Administrative Procedure Act “with the creation of DACA and its continued operation.”

However, he said current DACA recipients, given their reliance on the program’s benefits, would be able to maintain and renew their participation, pending a future order from Hanen himself, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

Biden responded in a statement issued by the White House on Saturday, explaining that DACA, launched in 2012 under the Obama administration, “has allowed hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to remain in the United States, to live, study, and work in our communities.” 

While Hanen’s decision leaves in place the status of the more than 600,000 current DACA recipients, Biden noted that the judge’s order “relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.” 

“The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA,” the president wrote. “And, as the court recognized, the Department of Homeland Security plans to issue a proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future.” 

However, Biden added that the ball is in Congress’s court to “ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve.” 

“I have repeatedly called on Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and I now renew that call with the greatest urgency,” Biden explained. “It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally provide security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear.” 

Biden on his second day in office issued an executive order urging DHS and DOJ to “preserve and fortify DACA.”

Many Democratic lawmakers are aiming to include immigration reform provisions in a $3.5 trillion Democratic budget plan, namely a statutory path to citizenship for Dreamers, including DACA recipients, beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status program, undocumented essential workers and undocumented farmworkers.

To pass the measure through reconciliation, Democrats will need unanimous backing from their Senate caucus as well as overwhelming support from House Democrats. 

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a statement in response to Friday’s decision, “As we aggressively fight this misguided ruling in the courts, we must also act quickly in Congress.”

Former President Obama himself also called on Congress to enact permanent protections for DACA recipients, writing in a Saturday tweet, “For more than nine years, DREAMers have watched courts and politicians debate whether they’ll be allowed to stay in the only country many of them have ever known.” 

“It’s long past time for Congress to act and give them the protection and certainty they deserve,” he added. 

Tags Barack Obama biden administration Congress DACA Department of Justice DREAM Act Dreamers House Immigration reform Joe Biden Obama administration pathway to citizenship Pramila Jayapal Senate

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