A federal judge has struck down former President Barack Obama’s controversial DACA migrant policy in court, though its ultimate resolution is expected to be determined by the United States Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen previously ruled against the program; however, due to a technicality, he was required to review it once more.
“While sympathetic to the predicament of DACA recipients and their families, this Court has expressed its concerns about the legality of the program for some time,” wrote Hanen.
“The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches,” he added. “Congress, for any number of reasons, has decided not to pass DACA-like legislation.”
Critics of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program argue that President Obama acted beyond his authority as Executive Branch by issuing a memo in 2012 to enact amnesty without seeking congressional approval.
The policy permits individuals who can demonstrate they were brought into the country as minors to pursue quasi-legal status and acquire work permits.
Judge Hanen’s ruling blocked the government from extending amnesty privileges to any additional applicants, yet allowed those already approved to remain in the program; an estimated 578,000 people have obtained DACA amnesty.
A group of states filed suit in an attempt to halt the program, claiming that they had spent millions of dollars administering services for those granted amnesty.
Democrats have sought to pass legislation establishing the amnesty program on a permanent basis; however, their efforts have been thwarted by Republican opposition.
Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington state issued a statement denouncing the ruling.
“Unfortunately, this decision is no surprise from Judge Hanen. This is completely unacceptable. Dreamers deserve better and the fight is not over,” wrote Jayapal.
The fate of the amnesty program is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.