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Judge Rules DACA Illegal

A federal policy that prevents the deportation of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children was deemed illegal for a second time on Wednesday by a federal judge, according to Reuters (subscription).

What’s going on: “The decision by Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen deals a fresh setback to the program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and its 579,000 enrollees and other immigrants who might have hoped to be approved.”

  • In 2021, Hanen found the policy unlawful, and in his decision this week found that a 2022 regulation issued by the Biden administration had not fixed the “legal deficiencies” he’d found the year before.

What it means: The Department of Homeland Security will be able to renew the immigration status of those enrolled in DACA before Hanen’s 2021 ruling, according to Reuters.

  • This week’s ruling—a response to a suit brought by Texas and eight other states that say the policy breaches federal regulatory law—doesn’t require U.S. immigration officials “to take any immigration, deportation or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant or any other individual that would otherwise not be taken,” Hanen wrote.

The administration responds: The White House responded that in keeping with the order, it would continue to process renewals for current DACA enrollees.

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a separate statement that the ruling “undermine[s] the security and stability of more than half a million Dreamers who have contributed to our communities.”

Why it’s important: Ending the DACA program—particularly at a time when there is an acute worker shortage—does a tremendous disservice to U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, according to the NAM, which has long advocated fixing the broken American immigration system.

  • This week’s ruling “only underscores the need to protect those who have never known a home other than the U.S.,” the NAM said Wednesday. “Manufacturers urge Congress to reform our immigration system, using the principles laid out in … ‘A Way Forward,’” the NAM’s immigration-policy blueprint.
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