President Joe Biden on Saturday said the Department of Justice will appeal a federal judge's ruling that declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program illegal, calling the decision "deeply disappointing." Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo
July 17 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden said Saturday that the Department of Justice plans to appeal a decision by a federal judge in Texas to rule the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program illegal.
Biden issued a statement declaring that his administration would look to solidify the program, also known as DACA, which allows certain immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation and receive renewable work permits.
He called on Congress to pass legislation to provide a path to citizenship for the recipients, known as Dreamers.
"Yesterday's federal court ruling is deeply disappointing. While the court's order does not now affect current DACA recipients, this decision nonetheless relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future," he said.
Biden added that the Department of Homeland Security will issue a proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said the agency "remains focused on safeguarding DACA" and will engage the public in a rulemaking process "to preserve and fortify" the program in addition to continuing to process requests for renewal.
"The Biden-Harris administration -- and this country -- remain as committed as ever to ensuring that Dreamers are protected from the threat of deportation and are allowed to continue to contribute to this country that is their home," said Mayorkas.
Judge Andrew Hanen on Friday ruled in favor of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and eight other states in a 2018 lawsuit against the federal government. They argued that the states face irreparable harm because they bear extra costs from providing health care, education and law enforcement protection to DACA recipients.
There are more than 600,000 DACA recipients nationwide, including 101,970 in Texas, which has the second most DACA recipients in the country after California, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The DACA program was created in 2012 under former President Barack Obama to allow immigrants who were brought to the country illegally to be able to temporarily avoid deportation, work legally and pay taxes.
Obama in a tweet Saturday morning said it was "long past time" for Congress to pass legislation for Dreamers to "give them the protection and certainty they deserve."
"For more than nine years, Dreamers have watched courts and politicians debate whether they'll be allowed to stay in the only country many of them have ever known," Obama wrote.
Biden, who served as vice president during Obama's administration, echoed the call in his statement, renewing his request for Congress to pass the American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide Dreamers with a path to receive permanent resident status, "with the greatest urgency."
"It is my fervent hope that through reconciliation or other means, Congress will finally provide security to all Dreamers, who have lived too long in fear," Biden said.