The US decide hears arguments in opposition to safety in opposition to deportation for “dreamers” immigrants

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: DACA recipients and supporters celebrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the court ruled U.S. President Trump’s move to repeal the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program is illegal in Washington

By Mimi Dwyer and Ted Hesson

(Reuters) – A Texas-led coalition of nine states called on a federal judge Tuesday to invalidate a program that gives hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children the right to live and exercise in the country work.

States have argued that the program known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was illegally launched in 2012 by former President Barack Obama.

The case could improve the lives of the nearly 650,000 people benefiting from the program, protecting them from deportation, enabling them to work, granting access to driving licenses and in some cases improving access to financial assistance for education.

The program has overcome a number of challenges since its inception, including a move by Republican President Donald Trump in 2017 to end it. The US Supreme Court found in June that his administration’s efforts had been “arbitrary and capricious” and improperly followed.

However, the Supreme Court did not rule on the overall legality of DACA. A decision on the Texas and other states challenge heard by US District Judge Andrew Hanen could answer that question.

Todd Disher, an attorney who represents Texas and the states, argued in a court hearing that Obama’s creation of DACA violated rules-setting procedures and opened the door to greater executive legalization of immigrants.

“Why couldn’t it do the same for every unlawful person in the United States?” he asked.

“That is not in the power of the executive, so this granting of deferred action must fail,” he said.

Nina Perales, the chief attorney for DACA recipients, said the executive branch has the power to decide at its own discretion how to enforce immigration laws. She said the DACA does not violate existing immigration laws, including because it does not provide recipients with formal legal immigration status.

President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat who served as Obama’s vice-president, has pledged to restore the DACA and propose laws that would provide avenues to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States, including DACA attendees.

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