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FILE PHOTO: Activists and DACA recipients march up Broadway during the start of their 'Walk to Stay Home,' a five-day 250-mile walk from New York to Washington D.C., to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act, in Manhattan, New York, US, February 15, 2018 Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Activists and DACA recipients march up Broadway during the start of their "Walk to Stay Home," a five-day 250-mile walk from New York to Washington D.C. to demand that Congress pass a clean Dream Act, in Manhattan, New York, US, February 15,…

The future of DACA is in the hands of one judge

District Judge Andrew Hanen has in his hands the immediate fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. His decision on Wednesday could…

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Many have lost sight of the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which took much of the attention of the media and the immigrant community in recent months.

The news about the zero tolerance policy of the government, the separated families, and the reinforcement of internal measures against "legal" immigration have distracted the national community about the limbo in which more than 800,000 young people are now experiencing.

But on Wednesday, a federal judge could suspend the program definitively, giving Donald Trump a victory against one of the most accepted and celebrated moves from the Obama era.

While three federal judges had already ruled that the Trump administration could not suspend DACA, a new lawsuit was filed in Texas before Judge Andrew Hanen to suspend the program.

Hanen is known to have authored the decision that prevented President Obama from "expanding protections for illegal immigrants in the United States," CBS reported. Hanen had granted a preliminary injunction in 2015 at the request of 26 states that opposed the government's actions, "temporarily blocking the Obama administration from implementing policies that allowed more than 5 million undocumented people to stay in the United States.”

Hanen’s ruling Wednesday could "freeze" the program, Univisión explained, and leave unprotected thousands of young people who have grown up and have made their lives in the United States.

For immigration lawyer Jaime Barrón, Hanen's decision is "the greatest threat that DACA has experienced in its six years of existence," he told the media, as his ruling would affect pending decisions and cause legislative conflicts with the orders of courts in California and New York.

"Hanen's decision is especially important because it could end DACA, although not immediately," Univisión continued. "After his ruling, an appeal process would be initiated between the different parties (Texas, the government, and the program's beneficiaries) that could take some time to resolve. It could even get into the hands of the Supreme Court of Justice, which would have the last word."

Groups like the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocate for the limitation of immigration in the country, bet that Hanen's decision will not be favorable to the program and that it could even argue that "DACA has had a negative effect on the states in the form of costs in providing services to DACA recipients," reported NPR.

On the contrary, activists and organizations in favor of the immigrant community have maintained that "young individuals with DACA grants are living and working and going to school and paying taxes and contributing to local economies," as Nina Perales, vice president of litigation of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said. "So it is a net benefit to the states to have DACA recipients there."

While the debate continues, young people suffer the instability of their condition and the growing stigmatization against immigrants. The decision could be left to the Supreme Court and take months (if not years) to resolve.

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