DACA Was ‘Saved’ Last Week. Now, Is a Texas Judge Going to Kill It?

People protesting the cancelation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals rally on the steps to the Capitol Building on December 6th, 2017.

After almost a year of federal courts hamstringing the Trump administration’s efforts to rescind an Obama-era program that protects young immigrants from deportation, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program might finally meet its end in a Texas courtroom on Wednesday.

While federal judges in New York and California have issued injunctions preventing the Trump team from axing the program—and a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a full renewal of the program just last week—DACA remains in a tenuous balance as seven states, led by Texas, argue that the program is illegal in a United States district court in Houston on Wednesday.

Presiding over the courtroom is Judge Andrew Hanen. Given Hanen’s history (in 2015 he ruled against a DACA expansion), legal experts tell Pacific Standard they expect Hanen to move against DACA. Now, the only question is how long it will take him to issue a preliminary injunction to halt the program.

According to Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, a Pennsylvania State University law professor, an injunction from Hanen suspending the program could lead the country into bizarre legal territory: After all, the injunctions from three other courts (including the D.C. judge’s recent order to reinstate DACA) will all still exist if Hanen moves to suspend the program. If Hanen offers his injunction in the near future, there could be multiple “competing” injunctions in the country.

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