DACA, the Obama-era program that gave illegal immigrants brought to the US as children protected status, is now facing serious legal jeopardy after a Federal Judge in Texas invalidated the initiative in a ruling that declared it illegal. It will (at least temporarily) block all new applications to the program.
However, the ruling, handed down by Judge Andrew Hanen of the US District Court in Houston, would bar future applications but does not immediately cancel current permits for hundreds of thousands of people. Nuances in the judge's decision will allow the program to stand - for now, at least.
The DACA program offers temporary protections to any immigrants in the country without legal authorization who were 30 or younger when it was first introduced. To qualify, DACA recipients must have arrived in the US by 2007, before they turned 16, and they must satisfy other conditions like being a student or graduate and having no major criminal record. Obama created the program by executive fiat after a bill called the Dream Act failed to pass Congress. Recipients are often referred to by Democrats and the media as "Dreamers", a label dreamed up by Democratic political strategists.
If the government can't "rectify" the judge's complaints - something that would likely require Congressional action - then the program may be scrapped altogether. So far, the program has extended legal status to roughly 800k illegal migrants brought to the US as children.
SCOTUS has already ruled on DACA in the past, but an expected legal challenge by the Biden Administration will likely see the issue wind up in front of the court once again.
The state of Texas led the effort to terminate the program, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia. Officials in those states had argued that the program was improperly adopted and left them with the burden of paying for education, health care and other benefits for the migrant children.