WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 15: Immigration advocates rally to urge Congress to pass permanent protections for DACA recipients and create a pathway to citizenship, near the U.S. Capitol June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC. In 2012, President Barack Obama and his administration introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, protecting eligible immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the DACA initiative in a 5-4 ruling. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Immigrant advocates are hoping a federal appeals court will uphold an Obama-era program that prevents the deportation of thousands of immigrants brought into the United States as children. A federal judge in Texas last year declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program illegal — although he agreed to leave the program intact for those already benefiting from it while his order is appealed. Three judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans were set to hear arguments Wednesday. Dozens of DACA proponents carried signs, beat drums and chanted in support of beneficiaries of the program prior to Wednesday’s hearing.