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'Immigration is a very complex issue,' Texas federal judge rules DACA illegal

Posted at 8:53 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 11:18:03-04

A Texas federal judge orders the government to stop granting new DACA applications and deemed the executive order by former President Barack Obama, illegal.

According to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are at least 50,000 applicants who filed their application at the beginning of this year that will not get approved.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA offers protection for an estimated 700,000 undocumented immigrants who've arrived in the United States before the age of 16. Although this ruling won't put current DACA recipients in jeopardy, activists said some recipients still feel a sense of uncertainty about the future of the program and worry for those no longer able to submit applications.

Without DACA protections, undocumented young people will be subject to deportation, even if they have no criminal record.

Jaime Chahin, Dean of College of Applied Sciences Texas State University said, "Immigration is a very complex issue affecting families, employers, public infrastructure, education, and the US economy. I feel sorry for the students that might not get the opportunity to be educated and participate in American society after being here all their lives"

Chahin is the child of immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1940s. He said access to education, changed his life.

"Education has given me an opportunity to help others to contribute to society, and ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity to succeed, that they need to work hard, and contribute to our society," Chahin said.

This ruling from Federal Judge Andrew Hanen, comes after a decade of back-and-forth dialogue and policies surrounding the DACA program and the Dream Act. This decision could have potential impacts here in Central Texas.

Hope Balfa-Mustakim, Director of Waco Immigrants Alliance said, "We know that there are people in our community that are affected. However, it does kind of push the Democrats in the House and the Senate to go forward with that reconciliation, that budget reconciliation, where they're including immigration reform in the package."

While the judge's ruling won't affect current DACA recipients' advocates say it doesn't make the ruling any easier to cope with.

Dr. Roslyn Schoen, Professor of Sociology A&M Central Texas said, "That has a really big impact on Texas because we do have a lot of DACA recipients and a lot of dreamers, which is a slightly different population here in Texas. It's a step up from being undocumented but those recipients still have a lot of struggles. I personally know a student who's been right on the edge."

However, this decision does leave nearly 50,000 hopefuls who’ve filed their application at the beginning of this year with an uncertain future.

Balfa-Mustakim said, "We know we can't afford to lose all of our undocumented students or workers, and their families. And we know that economically, that would be so bad for our economy."

Advocates like Balfa-Mustakim said they are looking for a more permanent solution.

"Hopefully, this puts more pressure for a long-term solution that includes a pathway to legal status for over 11 million undocumented folks," said Balfa-Mustakim.

Schoen said, "The research does show that education incentives a large group of people to apply for DACA. But because DACA is temporary, it pushes people into the work world and away from education. So the research shows us that if we made the program, longer-term more than two years, there would be more recipients who could go into a four-year university program."

Ultimately congress has the power to pass legislation to stop this back-and-forth cycle surrounding the DACA program.

President Biden has already announced he plans to appeal this decision.