When Republicans in red states wanted to reverse President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program so they could deport innocent children of undocumented immigrants, they let the state of Texas take the lead in a case of forum shopping for a conservative activist judge who lets his political views color his judicial decisions. Texas had judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Houston, the perfect fit.
This is the same Texas judge that Texas and other red states used in 2015 to block a similar executive order by President Obama that would have added protections for the undocumented parents of citizens and other lawful residents (DAPA).
So the State of Texas and eight other states filed a separate lawsuit seeking to declare the DACA program illegal and seeking an injunction to stop it. Judge Hanen gave the GOP plaintiffs what they asked for with the DAPA program, so surely he would give them what they wanted with the DACA program, right?
Well surprise, surprise, surprise. Judge Hanen, his judgment no doubt colored by the recent spectacle of the Trump administration’s family separation policy and images of innocent children being abused and caged like animals, said no – as have all the other federal courts that have ruled on the DACA program. (Since there is now not a split among the circuits, as anticipated, this case is not ripe for review by the Supreme Court).
The New York Times reports, Federal Judge in Texas Delivers Unexpected Victory for DACA Program:
A federal judge in Texas declined on Friday to halt an Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, handing a temporary victory to activists who are waging a legal fight against the Trump administration to save it.
The judge, Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Houston, said the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, had been relied upon by hundreds of thousands of immigrants since it was established almost six years ago, and should not be abruptly ended.
The ruling means that young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as small children can continue to apply for the program, which shields them from immediate deportation and provides a permit to work legally in the United States.
“It’s a huge sigh of relief,” said Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “This is a huge loss for Trump and the Department of Justice, who clearly want to end the program.”