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Texas judge rules DACA program as unlawful

(CNN, KYMA/KECY) - Dreamers are facing another legal setback. A judge has ruled against the Biden administration's efforts to preserve the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The order won't impact those currently protected under the program.

The success of a Mexican candy family business is, in part, thanks to DACA.

"When we got DACA, like it was a boost. It was like a catalyst and then things just happened faster, things were easier," said Ignacio Viramontes, candy store's owner and DACA recipient.

Judicial ruling

Licenses, loans, leases. All possible after Viramontes began benefiting from this Obama-era program. Now, Viramontes and his two siblings benefit from DACA.

They make part of the more than 580,000 so-called Dreamers in the United States (U.S.). Undocumented immigrants, often arriving to the U.S. at a young age, eligible for work authorization and shielded from deportation.

But last week, a federal judge in Texas ruled that a regulation intended to preserve DACA is unlawful.

"The time is running out. And I think that even if the Biden administration appeals, which I believe they will and I think it will go all the way up to the Supreme Court, looking at our Supreme Court and looking at the law, I think it's likely that the Supreme Court would find it unlawful and then it's over," said Jean Reisz, professor and Co-Director of the Immigration Clinic at USC's Law School.

Permanent solution

Reisz says the ruling could force a more permanent solution.

"People are reminded of the uncertainty. How much time do they have left years maybe. And I think it really puts pressure on reform," Reisz explained.

At the center of the issue is the scope of the president’s authority which is why for years, congressional leaders have tried to come to an agreement over immigration reform and failed.

"I think the agreement is there but I think because certain factions of Congress have taken such a position against DACA, that it's very hard to come back to the middle and save face," said Alex Galvez, immigration attorney.

Doesn't impact current beneficiaries

Galvez says that at the end of the day it’s the beneficiaries of the program that suffer.

"The dreamers are in limbo once again. It's a political ping pong. 'Yes DACA. No DACA. Yes DACA. No DACA,'" Galvez shared.

The Texas ruling does not impact current beneficiaries, but it does prohibit new applications.

Yet, the reality is that Viramontes does feel impacted.

"Even though I'm living like comfortably right now, [it's] always in the back of my head is like, 'What if one day somebody decides to come and end DACA?'" Viramontes pondered.

The Biden administration says it is deeply disappointed by the judge's ruling last week, and says it will continue to defend the program from more legal challenges.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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