A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled illegal an Obama-era program that prevents the deportation of some immigrants brought into the United States as children.
The decision puts at risk approximately 22,000 New Jersey residents.
The decision puts new pressure for action on President Joe Biden and Democrats who control Congress for legislation to safeguard the people known as “Dreamers.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled in favor of Texas and eight other conservative states that sued to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides limited protections to about 650,000 people.
DACA is an immigration policy that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they were brought to the country as children.
Recipients are eligible to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and apply for a work permit.
People who are already enrolled won’t lose protections, but Hanen is barring the approval of any new applications.
Hanen’s decision limits the immediate ability of Biden, who pledged during his campaign to protect DACA, to keep the program or something similar in place.
This is the second ruling by a federal judge in Texas stopping Biden’s immigration plans, after another court barred enforcement of a 100-day stay on most deportations.
The program has been challenged in court since former President Barack Obama instituted it in June 2012.