Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program asked a federal judge Tuesday to wait until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in before ruling on a challenge to the policy.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) advocates asked U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen to hold off on ruling on a 2018 Texas lawsuit until the incoming Biden administration has a chance to address the program, Politico reported. Hanen blocked an Obama administration effort to expand DACA in 2015.
“Given … the ongoing federal transition we think this court can expect further changes to that framework soon,” New Jersey State Solicitor Jeremy Feigenbaum, who was representing states seeking to preserve DACA, said, Politico reported. “Policies can be a bit of a moving target during [a] transition.”
ICYMI, the hearing in Texas's lawsuit to end DACA is happening today (in person) in a Houston courtroom https://t.co/yhA3lV5Fme
— Michelle Hackman (@MHackman) December 22, 2020
Hanen asked: “How can they change what happened eight years ago?”
Feigenbaum argued that the Biden administration could eliminate “confusion” surrounding DACA that followed a Supreme Court ruling denying the Trump administration’s efforts to end the program in 2017, Politico reported.
Texas state attorney Todd Disher urged Hanen to rule against DACA and invalidate the program. He suggested giving DACA two years to scale down, a similar plan as the Trump administration’s that failed in the Supreme Court.
“There is no additional reason now to delay,” Disher said. “There is simply no reason to leave an unlawful program in place.”
Feigenbaum said that the Department of Homeland Security should have the opportunity to craft a new program if Hanen were to deem DACA illegal.
Hanen said the Biden administration could also reintroduce DACA, but go through a formal period that allows the public to comment on the policy — a step the Obama administration skipped. He said that was one of the flaws with DACA when he ruled against the proposed expansion in 2015.
A Justice Department official asked Hanen to allow for an organized shutdown of the program if it’s decided to be illegal, Politico reported.
“DHS will need flexibility and time to wind the program down if it is determined to be unlawful,” John Coghlan, the attorney, said.
Hanen did not give a timeline for a ruling. He acknowledged that the case at hand is “completely different” from when he ruled against aspects of the program before it was instituted, Politico reported.