A federal judge who rejected the companion program of the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals declined to immediately throw out DACA today, but US District Judge Andrew Hanen in the Southern District of Texas did say he agrees with the State of Texas that DACA is illegal, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Hanen indicated that the issue should be decided by the US Supreme Court, and not a trial court in Texas, and he took steps Friday to move the case along.
DACA, which was approved by Executive Order by President Obama in 2012, allows people who were brought to the US as minor children with relatives to remain in the country legally, getting jobs and attending college, on the argument that they broke no laws because they were too young to act independently.
But Hanen declined to issue an injunction terminating DACA pending higher court review, largely on the grounds of what is called 'ripeness,' that the program has been in place for six years, and the state waited all those years to challenge it.
Other federal courts have upheld the legality of DACA, something Hanen declined to do, and even the Trump Administration Justice Department asked Hanen not to immediately throw out the program, so as to avoid warring jurisdictions, and allow the emotional issue to be decided nationwide by the Supreme Court.
In 2015, Hanen threw out a companion Obama Administration program called DAPA which aimed to protect adults whose children were citizens due to birthright or legal US residents through some other means.
"Instead of blocking opportunities, we must continue to seek long term solutions to our current, outdated immigration system," said US Rep Henry Cuellar, who has been a consistent supporter of DACA.
The US Justice Department was pleased with today's ruling.
"As the Justice Department has consistently argued, DACA is an unlawful attempt to circumvent Congress, and we are pleased the court agreed today," the Justice Department said in a statement.