State Watch

Judge rejects Texas request to block DACA

A federal judge in Texas on Friday denied the state's request to invalidate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, saying the state had waited too long to file the suit and the results of ending the program now could harm the public.

The judge, however, did predict that a challenge to DACA will eventually be successful in front of the court, saying the program is likely illegal.

"The Court did not grant the preliminary injunction as it found that the States had delayed seeking this relief for years, that the balance of private interests fell in favor of the denial of the requested relief, and that implementing the relief at this point in time was contrary to the best interests of the public," District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled.

"This Court found that injuries would occur to the Plaintiff States if the injunction was denied, but denied the injunction because it found that the injuries that would occur to the Government and the Defendant-Intervenors if the injunction were granted would be more profound and significant," he added.

He went on to say that he thought DACA was "contrary to the Administrative Procedure Act."

"Plaintiff States have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ... program is contrary to the Administrative Procedure Act. ... The court also found that the Plaintiff States had made a clear showing of irreparable injury," Hanen said. 

DACA is an Obama-era program that protects undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.

Hanen is the third federal judge to prevent the end of the program since the Trump administration first rescinded it with a six-month delay last September.

Hanen has historically been opposed to programs like DACA, but this is the first time he's ruled on such a program that is already in existence. 

"Here, the egg has been scrambled," Hanen wrote. "To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country."

Hanen stayed the case for 21 days, but left open the possibility to a hearing to extend the stay should any party want one.

Updated at 3:58 p.m.

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