Federal Judge Rules DACA Program Unlawful

Immigration Advocates Rally On 10th Anniversary Of DACA Policy.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
5:08 PM – Thursday, September 14, 2023

A federal judge in Texas has once again declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) to be unlawful, marking the second such ruling. 


There are an estimated 600,000 individuals, known as “Dreamers,” who currently reside in the United States.

Last year, the Biden administration worked to keep the DACA program intact – which protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children – and released a rule to codify the policy into a federal regulation.

On Wednesday, Judge Andrew Hanen agreed with Texas and eight other states that DACA is unlawful and argued that the rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the processes of government agencies. 

However, Judge Hanen’s ruling does not have any immediate impact on current DACA recipients. 

“To be clear, neither this order nor the accompanying supplemental injunction requires the (Department of Homeland Security) or the Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation, or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that would otherwise not be taken,” Judge Hanen wrote.

Last year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals noted concerns with DACA before sending the case back to Judge Hanen. They found that the policy was inconsistent with the immigration procedures outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Judge Hanen took this into consideration in his ruling on Wednesday, highlighting that despite DACA’s advantages for both beneficiaries and the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to address the issues identified by his court and the Fifth Circuit.

Hanen’s ruling comes after a federal appeals court upheld his previous ruling that found DACA to be unlawful. That ruling prevented the government from granting new applications for the program but allowed it to continue for current enrollees while the case was litigated.

President Joe Biden and immigrant advocates have repeatedly called on Congress to pass permanent protections for “Dreamers.”

The White House also posted a statement late on Wednesday saying that it was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling and pledged to continue defending DACA. 

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