Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: A Blaring Siren

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: A Blaring Siren
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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Andrew Hanen, a federal judge in Texas, declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Top Story: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

This past Friday, Andrew Hanen, a federal judge in Texas, declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal. The ruling bars the government from approving new applications. However, the program is still intact for existing immigrants known as Dreamers. Since 2012, DACA has allowed over 800,000 immigrants to remain in the US and secure work authorization. These Dreamers were brought to the country illegally when they were children. On Saturday, President Joe Biden said that the Justice Department intends to appeal Hanen’s ruling. “Only Congress can 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,” the president said. United We Dream Executive Director Greisa Martinez Rosas called the ruling a “blaring siren” for Democrats, saying they would be solely to blame if legislative reform doesn’t happen. Here’s what both sides are saying about the DACA program through the lens of the latest ruling.

On The Left

Left-leaning commentators and representatives overwhelmingly support the DACA program. They question the legality of Hanen’s ruling and note that the only way to solve this issue is by Congress passing concrete legislation.

“The Dreamers’ future in the US is endangered after judge’s decision” Elie Honig, CNN: “The future of DACA now rests with federal courts of appeals, and the legal landscape isn’t promising for the program’s survival — unless Congress steps in to rescue it. If DACA … does fall, the result will be potentially catastrophic for hundreds of thousands of innocent young beneficiaries. … Without DACA’s protections, these young people will be subject to deportation, even if they have committed no crime and done nothing wrong. Even former President Donald Trump … has described those protected by DACA as ‘good, educated and accomplished young people.’… The real question is whether the Democrats are willing to take action to match their party’s rhetoric. … It’s unclear whether the Democrats are willing to act, up to and including potentially limiting or ending the filibuster, which would require at least 60 votes — all 50 Democrats plus at least 10 Republicans — to pass legislation.”

“Mayorkas on DACA 9th anniversary: When will Congress give Dreamers the lives they deserve?” Alejandro N. Mayorkas, USA Today Opinion: “This extraordinarily successful policy has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young ‘Dreamers’ by making them eligible for work authorization and providing a measure of protection from deportation. … These young people grew up in our neighborhoods, studied with our children in school, played on the same sports teams, and celebrated decades of birthdays and holidays here in the United States. In fact, many DACA recipients grew up not knowing that they weren’t citizens because they were American in every way except on paper. … It is long past time for Congress to come together and pass permanent protections for these young people. The majority of Americans agree. Until that happens, we in the Department of Homeland Security will continue to exercise our discretion as the law provides and deliver some measure of relief, however tenuous it may be.”

“Judge Hanen’s Opinion Against DACA Is Legally Wrong” Charles Tiefer, Forbes: “… let us focus on one special portion of the 77 page opinion … Judge Hanen assails and purports to crush how DACA allows recipients to receive ‘advance parole.’ Advance parole lets aliens leave the United States and then lawfully re-enter the country without being turned away at a port of entry. So, Dreamers granted advance parole can leave the United States for, say, Mexico, and then come to the ‘front door’ and knock and seek legal status. … The opinion admits that out of 1.5 million DACA members, ‘20,000 DACA recipients had been approved for advance parole, and of those, approximately 3,000 were subsequently granted an adjustment of status.’ 3,000 is one 500th of the DACA population, or .2%. … First, the Judge is trying hard to knock down the connections DACA has to the Administration’s powers under the immigration law, which are numerous and broad. … Second, the court here is basically trying to substitute its administrative judgment for that of the Administration. … This opinion will be touted by the opponents of the Dreamers as sacrosanct writ. It is not. It is a flawed opinion that should not be followed.”

On The Right

Right-leaning commentators believe DACA is unconstitutional. Some see a chance for Democrats to work with Republicans on comprehensive immigration policy, which includes increasing border security and changing asylum rules in exchange for offering legal residency for DACA recipients.

“Anti-DACA court ruling sets Democrats scrambling to protect ‘Dreamers’” Stephen Dinan, Washington Examiner: “Judge Andrew S. Hanen‘s Friday afternoon bombshell opinion said the program, invented by the Obama administration in 2012, cut too many corners and cannot legally stand. … President Biden chimed in with a call to action [saying] ‘Only Congress can ensure a permanent solution.’ … The current surge at the border, which experts trace back to Mr. Biden’s lax immigration enforcement policies, complicated those calls for action. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a key Republican who has worked with Democrats on immigration in the past and has been the lead sponsor of legislation legalizing Dreamers, said Sunday that Democrats will have to step up with serious border security if they want Republican cooperation. ‘Here’s what I want. I want you to finish the wall, which needs to be finished, and end catch-and-release for the asylum seekers, which will shut off a wave of illegal immigration, and I will vote for DACA legalization,’ Mr. Graham said on Fox Business’ ‘Sunday Morning Futures.'”

“An Immigration Reboot for Biden” The Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal: “The Biden Administration’s immigration policy has been a debacle from the start, but two events Friday ought to spur a reboot. Democrats will need one if they want to avoid a political backlash in 2022 and beyond. [First] Customs and Border Protection reported that its agents had some 188,000 migrant encounters in June. … [Secondly] federal Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is illegal. … We support offering legal residency for the DACA residents who were brought here illegally as children, but Judge Hanen is right on the law. … Democrats ought to use Friday’s news as motivation to rethink their strategy on immigration. Break with the left’s refusal to change the asylum rules in order to send a stronger signal of deterrence to migrants. Then work with Republicans to pass this in return for legalizing DACA candidates. It’s a political long shot amid the border mess, but on its present course the Administration is losing on immigration in court and at the ballot box.”

“Texas AG Paxton to Newsmax: Obama Didn’t Have the Right to Enact DACA” Sandy Fitzgerald, Newsmax: “Whether people like or dislike the policy … Obama did not have the right to issue the order,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Newsmax on Saturday. “No president has the ability just to ignore federal law and create his own federal law, so we sued,” said Paxton. “This is clearly unconstitutional, and I think it should stand.” In a 77-page decision, Hanen said, “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.” He added, “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.”

Flag This: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Flag Polls: According to a national poll conducted in June 2020, “About three-quarters of US adults say they favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came illegally to the United States when they were children,” Jens Manuel Krogstad writes for the Pew Research Center. In a state poll conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune, voters in the Lone Star State “are divided on whether undocumented immigrants in the US should be immediately deported, but most said they support federal laws that bar the deportation of young people brought to this country illegally as children.” 

Flag This: Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune quotes Joshua Blank, research director for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, who notes that “Much of the politics which has made immigration such a difficult issue for the country to handle reflects the fact that, when people are talking about immigrants, they’re often talking about different groups.” Blank added that “When you’re explicit that you’re talking about children who came here through no fault of their own and have done what people would expect them to do to try to achieve the American dream, most people are pretty OK letting those kids stay in the country.” This sentiment holds true across the political spectrum. According to a June 2020 POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, “A majority of Trump voters want to protect so-called Dreamers from deportation.”

Flag Poll: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Do you support or oppose offering legal residency for DACA residents who were brought to the US illegally as children? Click here to share your thoughts.

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15 days ago

The key word here is illegal. If someone is here illegally they should be deported. The US seems to be the only country where this confusion exists. If Congress wants to fix this, then they should. And stop kicking the can down the road. Otherwise the law should be enforced. We shouldn’t be picking and choosing which laws are enforced.

Janet Goodell
15 days ago


Bryan Hildebrand
15 days ago

Illegal is illegal, however, when you are 2 years old and are brought to this country against/unknowingly their will, where do you send them too? How do you expect a kid who may be 10, 14, 16 to exist in a country he/she has no recollection of? There is constitutional law, and then there is simply doing the right thing. Give the kids a shot at naturalizing and then, if qualified and vetted, become citizens. Its the reasonable solution to this disaster.

Reply to  Bryan Hildebrand
14 days ago

If a child is a minor they should be deported with their parents.

Lori Magnificent
15 days ago

I oppose Daca

15 days ago

What part of ‘illegal’ has to be explained in language a third grader would understand. And the ‘a country they know nothing about’ doesn’t hold water: When their parents illegally invaded, they came to a country they knew nothing about.

15 days ago

Our nation has been built on, and has prospered through, immigration. We clearly need a revision to immigration laws / policies in order for our country to continue to thrive. People who are here under the “DACA” framework should have the opportunity to become citizens if they have no convictions for serious crimes. Legal aliens who are here under temporary working permits should also have that opportunity. Adults who have entered the US illegally should be promptly deported.

15 days ago

I would allow 10% per year to get in line legally and follow the process of becoming a legal citizen. We would have to start with the first ones to illegally enter the country. However, we must close the border first and all illegal non-DACA personnel must be deported. I’m sorry but illegal is illegal and we as must enforce our laws.

14 days ago

YES! They’ve become American just by acculturation!