On June 29, 2022, Professor Anil Kalhan was quoted in a PolitiFact article about how courts are still debating the legality of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects immigrants from deportation and allows them to apply for work permits and a Social Security number in two-year renewable intervals.
Despite pending litigation, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., has called the DACA program “illegal.”
Professor Kalhan said Biggs’ classification of DACA as “illegal” is premature and a possible overstatement. “The highest court in the country, on two separate occasions, has not reached a conclusion on the legality or illegality” of DACA, said Professor Kalhan.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) delivered a split 4-4 ruling in 2016, leaving a lower court’s ruling in place to block the expansion of DACA.
In 2020, SCOTUS ruled on the legality of the Trump administration ending DACA in a 5-4 decision against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), saying it had failed to provide an adequate reason for DACA’s termination.
In July 2021 Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a federal judge in Texas, ruled that the Obama administration exceeded its authority on immigration policymaking when it created DACA. Hanen ordered DHS to stop granting DACA to new applicants but allowed more than 600,000 active beneficiaries to keep their protections.
The Biden administration appealed Hanen’s ruling. On July 6, oral arguments were scheduled to begin in the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Immigration law experts state the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
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