Southland Groups Blast New DACA Decision

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Immigrant rights organizations and others in the Southland blasted a ruling today by a federal judge in Texas which determined that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- the Obama-era program shielding certain undocumented immigrants from deportation -- is illegal, and halted new applicants.

The ruling from Judge Andrew Hanen bars future applications, but does not immediately cancel current permits for hundreds of thousands of people.

However, it again puts DACA recipients in legal limbo.

Created in 2012, DACA was intended to provide temporary relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children -- a group that called itself "Dreamers."

Former President Donald Trump tried ending DACA in 2017, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the attempt in June 2020.

"This heartless decision, which forecloses new and already submitted DACA applications for now and perhaps renewers in the near future, throws DACA holders and applicants, and their families, back on the scariest of legal roller-coasters -- and this during a pandemic that has devastated immigrant communities," according to the Los Angeles-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, the largest immigrant rights organization in California.

"This is why we need a permanent, legislative solution that gives millions of undocumented people a path to citizenship by any means available."

Fatima Flores, a DACA holder who is part of CHIRLA's leadership team, said that Hanen's decision "is an attack on hundreds of thousands of immigrants that consider the U.S. their home. As a DACA beneficiary, I am frustrated and angry that our lives are once again being thrown into the fire. Congress needs to act immediately to protect our lives by including immigrants in reconciliation."

U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, the original co-author of the DREAM Act and the Member of Congress representing the highest number of DACA-eligible youth, said in a statement, "My heart shatters at this terrible news. It pains me that the livelihoods of Dreamers who contribute so much to our communities and nation, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, are once again in limbo."

In response to Hanen's ruling halting new DACA program applications, David Huerta, president of SEIU-United Service Workers West and executive board member of the Service Employees International Union California, said that Dreamers "are beloved members of our families, our communities and vital to a strong future for our nation -- one misguided judge in Texas won't change that."

He added that the ruling "makes exactly one thing clear: Our elected leaders must demonstrate as much courage as the young activists who put themselves at risk to demand inclusion and opportunity. The Senate must pass comprehensive immigration reform that secures the future of Dreamers and puts our nation on a path to finally live up to the ideal of justice for all."

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