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Houston federal judge rules DACA is illegal

Judge Andrew Hanen ruled President Barack Obama did not have the legal authority to create DACA in 2012.

HOUSTON — A federal judge appointed by former President George W. Bush has ordered DACA to stop accepting new applications.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program prevents some approved immigrants brought to the U.S. as kids from being deported.

The decision came out of the U.S. Southern District Court in Houston.

Judge Andrew Hanen ruled President Barack Obama did not have the legal authority to create DACA in 2012.

Those protected under it and those seeking DACA status are left in limbo.

Susie Lujano has lived in the U.S. since she was brought here from Mexico when she was a year old. The 28-year-old has built her life in the United States. She’s recently engaged and is expecting a baby.

“It feels like a betrayal. It does. This is home,” Lujano said. “Our lives don’t stop because this system doesn’t work. Our lives continue. We established communities here.”

Lujano received DACA status in 2012, but it is set to expire in September.

She calls the decision a slap to the face.

“I can lose my job. I can lose my healthcare benefits. It’s really ridiculous, and it feels very upsetting,” Lujano said.

Her status is protected for now. The judge’s decision only orders the government to stop approving new applications.

“This has temporarily, it has no effect on people that currently have DACA and, or are renewing DACA," said Roberto Quijano, a civil rights attorney.

However, the ruling has huge impacts on people like 19-year-old Cesar Hernandez.

“It makes me mad, because how are you going to tell me, and how are you going to tell people that they don’t deserve the same chances as you because they weren’t born here?" Hernandez said.

DACA recipients like Lujano said permanent protections are needed.

“We know that that’s not something that’s safe and that’s concerning,” she said.

Local immigration groups like FIEL ask DACA recipients and supporters to call lawmakers in Congress to tell them they that they need a pathway to citizenship.

Who is U.S. Federal Judge Andrew Hanen?

On Friday, U.S. Federal Judge Hanen ordered the end to an Obama-era program that prevented the deportations of some immigrants brought into the United States as children.

According to his online bio, Judge Hanen was nominated as a U.S. District Judge by former President George H.W. Bush in 1992, but that nomination lapsed and he was re-nominated by former President George W. Bush in 2002. This time, he was confirmed

Judge Hanen served as a federal judge in Brownsville from 2002 to 2018, when he moved to the Houston division.

A native of Waco, Judge Hanen graduated from Denison University in Ohio with honors in 1975. He got his law degree from Baylor University School of Law, graduating first in his class in 1978.

He moved to Houston, where he practiced civil trial law for more than 20 years.

He’s married to attorney Diane Dillard. Law is a family affair as their daughter, Kelly Hanen, is an honors graduate of Dartmouth College and of the University of Texas School of Law.

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