Federal judge hears arguments on revised DACA program after previously declaring it illegal
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen has not yet issued a ruling after hearing arguments on a revised version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on June 1. Nine states sued to end the program, claiming that it forced them to incur hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for immigrants who remain in the country illegally and that it is the responsibility of Congress to make decisions on immigration benefits, not of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Judge Hanen declared DACA illegal in 2021, ruling that the Biden administration published it as a rule but did not subject it to the required public notice and comment periods. This ruling was upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the case was sent back to Judge Hanen to review the updates made by the Biden administration last year, including formalizing the rule on the Federal Register following a public comment period in 2022.
The lawyers arguing for DACA said that the states have not provided proof that the alleged costs incurred from illegal immigration are connected to the program. They also argued that Congress has given DHS the authority to set immigration enforcement policies. They have asked Judge Hanen not to end the entire program if that would be his decision, but that he would only end the parts he believes are illegal.
Recent migrant transportation under investigation
On Friday, 16 migrants were dropped off outside the Diocese of Sacramento after being flown from El Paso, Texas on a private chartered jet, according to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. The migrants were approached by someone outside a migrant center who offered to help them get to a place that could provide them with jobs and other support. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has called for an investigation into who is responsible. "Whoever is behind this must answer the following: Is there anything more cruel than using scared human beings to score cheap political points?" Steinberg said.
A second flight of 20 migrants from Texas to Sacramento arrived on Monday. California Attorney General Rob Bonta stated that the state is “doing a full investigation to identify what was represented to the asylum seekers, what they were told.”
In related news, the Bexar County (TX) Sheriff’s office has filed criminal charges after completing an investigation into the transportation of 49 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration in September 2022. At this time, no individual suspects have been identified, but a number of counts of misdemeanor and felony unlawful restraint were filed with the district attorney’s office.
This week's news blog was written by Jen Wellman.