HOUSTON, Texas –  A federal judge in Texas ruled today that a Biden Administration rule issued in 2022 that formalized Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is unlawful.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s ruling in Texas v. United States comes in response to a Texas-led, multi-state challenge to the legality of DACA.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and co-counsel Ropes & Gray LLP represent nearly two dozen DACA recipients who intervened in the 2018 lawsuit to defend the program because the Trump administration would never have provided a robust defense against the challenge.

MALDEF attorneys have argued that the states failed to prove injury from DACA’s implementation and that the initiative is a lawful exercise of presidential discretion.

Judge Hanen previously ruled that DACA was unlawful because it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. MALDEF along with the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of New Jersey appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. A three-judge panel upheld Hanen’s ruling but sent the case back to him to consider the legality of a new rule promulgated by the Biden Administration.

On June 1, MALDEF along with the Justice Department, and the State of New Jersey presented oral argument before Judge Hanen. Texas argued against the legality of the new rule.

Judge Hanen’s latest ruling does not put an immediate end to DACA.

Please attribute the following statement to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz:

“From the beginning of Texas’ ill-considered lawsuit, it was clear that higher courts, including the Supreme Court, would have to ultimately decide both the critical issue of standing – whether Texas has proven any injury sufficient to challenge DACA in court – and the question of DACA’s legality as an exercise of presidential discretion.  Judge Hanen has consistently erred in resolving both of these issues, and today’s ruling is more of the same flawed analysis.  We look forward to continuing to defend the lawful and much-needed DACA program on review in higher courts.

“We are of course pleased that Judge Hanen has expressly permitted current DACA recipients to continue to renew their DACA as the case moves forward for appellate review.  This stay acknowledges the reliance of DACA recipients on continuing to renew, and implicitly recognizes the benefits to the United States as a whole from allowing these heroic individuals to continue to contribute to our economy and society.

“We must all remain mindful that this lengthy lawsuit, and the precarious state of uncertainty in which it places DACA recipients, is largely the result of Congress indolently refusing to enact legislation – which has the overwhelming bipartisan support of the nation’s voters – to preserve the DACA recipients as permanent members and contributors in U.S. society.”

Read the ruling HERE and a timeline of the case HERE.