A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that the Obama administration did not follow proper procedures when it created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. The ruling does not affect current DACA beneficiaries or their employment authorization.

Key Points:

  • U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by creating and operating DACA.
  • The court vacated the memorandum that created DACA and remanded the issue to DHS for further consideration. The court stayed its ruling as it applies to current DACA beneficiaries, pending appeal.
  • The court enjoined DHS from approving new DACA applications, though the agency will be permitted to continue accepting them for possible future adjudication.

Background: DACA recipients and their supporters won a major victory last year when the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s termination of DACA in 2017 was unlawful. The lawsuit in Texas challenged the Obama administration’s authority to create DACA in the first place, however, and Judge Hanen ruled that the administration did not follow proper procedures in doing so. Since taking office, President Joe Biden has pledged to “preserve and fortify” DACA. DHS is planning to publish a proposed regulation in the coming months.

BAL Analysis: The ruling does not affect current DACA beneficiaries or their employment authorization, and the Biden administration continues to work toward proposing a regulation to preserve DACA. BAL continues to review the ruling and is monitoring DHS for its response. BAL will provide more information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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