President Joe Biden has condemned Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who blocked new applications to a program that protects those who were illegally brought to the United States as children. In a statement on Saturday, Biden said the Justice Department intends to appeal the federal judge’s decision, the Associated Press reported.
The President added that the order doesn’t affect those already covered by DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but it ”relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future.”
The Obama-era program has been protecting thousands of young people, sometimes known as Dreamers, who were brought into the United States as children without documents. The program allows them to stay, learn and work in the country. Nine states, however, filed lawsuits to end DACA, saying former President Barack Obama created the program without congressional authorization. Hanen agreed when he came down with ruling in Texas on Friday.
The judge also said the order doesn’t require the government to take “any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient.” The court’s decision still permits immigrants currently protected by the program to keep their status and allows DACA renewals while the case goes through the appeals process, NPR reported.
Biden vowed to continue the effort to protect the Dreamers.
“I have repeatedly called on Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and I now renew that call with the greatest urgency,” he said. “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.”
In March, the House approved legislation to create a pathway toward citizenship for those impacted. However, the measure has stalled in the Senate.
Dreamers and their families continue to express constant worry about the program, with many stating that they feel their DACA benefits could disappear at any time. Cheska Mae Perez, a 23-year-old DACA recipient from the Philippines, is among those who is concerned about her family. According to Reuters, Perez said her 22-year-old brother and 20-year-old sister applied for DACA when new applications were allowed following a court order in December 2020. While Perez’s brother recently received his approval, her sister is still waiting.
Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey said the latest ruling is “just a painful reminder that we need to stop relying on temporary immigration fixes.”
“Congress must seize the moment and any and all opportunities to finally provide a pathway to legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants,” Menendez wrote on Twitter.
Not a surprise, just a painful reminder that we need to stop relying on temporary immigration fixes.
Congress must seize the moment and any and all opportunities to finally provide a pathway to legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants.https://t.co/iDewNu4wWx
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 16, 2021
According to NPR, DACA has protected more than 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation since 2012.