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DACA in jeopardy as federal judge considers lawsuit calling for the program’s end


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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The future of thousands of Dreamers, young adult immigrants brought to the United States as children, is up in the air.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, was initially created nearly a decade ago by the Obama Administration as a temporary way to safeguard immigrants from deportation. However, now it's facing a lawsuit filed by nine Republican-led states calling for the program to be permanently shut down.

Despite multiple attempts, Congress has not been able to agree on any legislation that would create a path to permanent residency for Dreamers.

After a federal judge in Texas ruled DACA was illegal and should be eliminated in 2021, the pressure has only continued to rise.

"These are people now who have built families here," said U.S. Congresswoman Brittany Petterson. "They've lived here nearly their entire life. They are part of our community."

Petterson, a Democratic Representative representing Colorado's 7th Congressional District, said she will continue to fight for DACA to continue and fears a future without it.

"That is devastating to think about," said Petterson, "all of us would be impacted. Our economy would hit would have devastating impacts with the lack of workers that we already have here."

In October 2022, a federal appeals court ruled that the Obama administration acted outside of its legal authority in creating DACA.

The presiding judge on the case ruled that DACA could continue to protect those already in the program, but they wouldn't be allowed to receive new applications.

In January, Republican-led states took another swing at DACA. Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, and Mississippi banded together, filing a lawsuit to a federal judge in Texas.

The suit calls for DACA to be completely shut down over the next two years.

The issue of DACA is politically charged as it falls into the ongoing conversation of immigration.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert has expressed her disapproval of DACA in the past, questioning the constitutionality of its existence.

KRDO reached out to several conservative leaders in Colorado; including Laurent Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn, for an interview or statement on the current standing of DACA. They declined our requests for comment.

It is unclear when a decision will be made on DACA or whether the lawsuit will go to the Supreme Court.