Legal Challenge to Dreamer Program Looming

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By Laura D. Francis

A federal judge in Texas set the stage for a possible legal challenge to President Barack Obama’s program for young, undocumented immigrants.

Judge Andrew Hanen Aug. 17 agreed to hold off proceeding on a case that originally challenged Obama’s similar program for the undocumented parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents ( Texas v. U.S. , S.D. Tex., No. 1:14-cv-00254, order granting motion to stay 8/17/17 ).

Texas and nine other states participating in the lawsuit had asked Hanen to stay the case until Sept. 5. The 10 states earlier gave the federal government until that date to end the deferred action for childhood arrivals program, or else they would add DACA to the lawsuit.

DACA, which provides deportation and work permits to nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants, known as “dreamers,” had its fifth anniversary Aug. 15. Advocates and lawmakers have asked President Donald Trump to maintain the program, while critics say DACA is an unconstitutional exercise of executive authority.

The president made a campaign promise to end DACA on his first day in office but took a softer tone after the election. The Department of Homeland Security granted 17,275 new DACA applications and 107,524 renewal applications between January and March of this year, according to the latest data.

Various bills have been introduced in Congress to provide lawful status to the immigrants covered by the program. But Congress has a lot on its plate when it returns in September, making passage of such measures uncertain.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura D. Francis in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at; Terence Hyland at; Chris Opfer at

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