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While a federal judge on Wednesday declared illegal a revised version of a federal policy that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, he declined to order an immediate end to the program and the protections it offers to recipients.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen agreed with Texas and eight other states suing to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The judge’s ruling was ultimately expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, sending the program’s fate before the high court for a third time.

“While sympathetic to the predicament of DACA recipients and their families, this Court has expressed its concerns about the legality of the program for some time,” Hanen wrote in his 40-page ruling. “The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches. Congress, for any number of reasons, has decided not to pass DACA-like legislation ... The Executive Branch cannot usurp the power bestowed on Congress by the Constitution — even to fill a void.”

Hanen’s order extended the current injunction that had been in place against DACA, which barred the government from approving any new applications, but left the program intact for existing recipients during the ongoing legal review.

Hanen also declined a request by the states to order the program’s end within two years. Hanen said his order does not require the federal government to take any actions against DACA recipients, who are known as “Dreamers.”

Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which is representing DACA recipients in the lawsuit, said it will ultimately be up to higher courts, including the Supreme Court, to rule on DACA’s legality and whether Texas proved it had been harmed by the program.

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