Biden Vows to Appeal Judge’s Ruling Suspending DACA

The president also called on Congress to pass legislation to protect the immigrants known as Dreamers.

Protesters march to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Phoenix in support of Dreamers.Matt York/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

President Biden vowed Saturday to appeal a court decision that effectively suspended an Obama-era program that shields younger immigrants from deportation. That decision, made in a ruling issued Friday by Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen, blocked the government from accepting new applications to the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in which more than 600,000 people are currently enrolled.

Hanen’s decision was yet another setback for the Biden administration on immigration, and it has vowed to fight back. “Yesterday’s Federal court ruling is deeply disappointing,” Biden said in a White House statement. “The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA.” The statement also urged action from Congress. “Only Congress can ensure a permanent solution by granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers that will provide the certainty and stability that these young people need and deserve. I have repeatedly called on Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, and I now renew that call with the greatest urgency.”

DACA is a program that was introduced by the Obama administration in 2012 for immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. It shields them for deportation for up to two years, pending renewal. But the program itself was a stopgap measure by the Obama administration, after Congress had failed for years to pass any significant immigration reform.

After four years of a Trump presidency that was built on hostility toward immigrants, the Biden administration promised a “more humane and fair approach.” But Biden has already failed to live up to several early promises, including one to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border and one to raise the cap on the number of refugees legally allowed into the United States. Still, he’s scaled back Trump’s draconian immigration enforcement, recently closing two ICE detention centers and shutting down a Trump pet project that tried to link immigration to crime.

Biden reportedly deputized Vice President Kamala Harris to spearhead the administration’s efforts on immigration, but that’s proven to be largely ineffective so far. Harris is the daughter of two immigrants who often championed dreamers while she was in the United States Senate. But she may never live down the press conference in Guatemala on the administration’s behalf to understand “root causes” of migration. “To folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come,” Harris said. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.” The political fallout for Harris has been swift, with recent media reports surfacing that Harris is either a very bad boss (Politico) or being put in a very bad spot by Biden’s team (New York Times).

Lives are at stake, immigrant advocates are quick to point out. “Today’s federal court ruling again upends the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth whose home is here; it will harm all our communities,” the National Immigration Law Center said in a statement. “It is a stark reminder of the urgency for Congress to act swiftly to pass a long overdue pathway to U.S. citizenship for immigrant youth and all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.”

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate