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Advocates renew calls for DACA safeguards as program heads back to court

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is likely headed back to the Supreme Court after a federal judge ruled it illegal. Advocates say the Biden administration has to take steps to protect recipients.

This is the second time United States District Court Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas ruled DACA illegal.

Meanwhile, the program has been closed to new applicants for years now — because of a Trump administration effort to end it. Hundreds of thousands could lose their DACA status and work permits if the program is forced to an end. 

In the wake of that limbo, advocacy groups and legal organizations are  renewing calls on the Biden administration to intervene. They say the administration should use what’s called Deferred Enforced Departure. It’s an executive branch authority that gives immigrants temporary protection from deportation.

The groups say President Joe Biden should use the authority to protect current and would-be DACA recipients.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.