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Federal Judge's DACA Ruling Sends Chill Through Local Recipients; 'Living With DACA Is Like Living With Anxiety'

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A federal judge in Texas ruled the Obama-era DACA program illegal Friday, arguing that the former president didn't have the authority to create DACA because it circumvented Congress.

The ruling is the latest twist in the decade-old program. With its future up in the air yet again, recipients, a group often described as dreamers, are worried.

"Living with DACA is like living with anxiety, because you don't know what's next, you don't know - you live with this uncertainty of - will I have my job? Will I have my school? Will I be able to have a future in this country?" said recipient Flor Martinez.

Flor Martinez says she was brought to the US when she was 3-years-old. Today 23 years later, she runs Celebration Nation to help migrant families and farmworkers.

She's among the 650,000 recipients who are feeling uneasy.

The program allowed young people brought to the US illegally as children to avoid deportation.

Bill Hing is a professor of Law & Migration Studies at USF.

"What Judge Hanen said is listen -- 'I'm ruling that DACA is invalid, but until we hear from the 5th Circuit and the Supreme Court, the current DACAs can continue life as they have lived it,'" said Hing.

Judge Andrew Hanen also barred the government from approving any new applications.

He ruled in favor of Texas and other conservative states that sued to halt DACA.

"He's a very conservative judge," Hing said. "He was appointed by George Bush and he's also ruled in favor of the government when it comes to immigrant issues."

The Biden Administration is expected to appeal the ruling, and the Supreme Court will likely decide its legality.

Immigration legislation has been stalled for years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Democrats will continue to push for the passage of the Dream Act and called on Republicans for support.

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